After the first Major of the season at the Australian Open, the GOAT race has been even more intense and exciting. Three of the best players in history are now separated by only three titles, with the youngest and the most consistent among them threatening to catch the leaders and emerge at the top.
Novak Djokovic claimed his 17th Major title on Sunday, beating Dominic Thiem in a thrilling five-setter to celebrate at Melbourne Park for the eighth time, reducing the deficit to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their eternal battle for most Major titles that should go on for at least a couple of more years.
Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have won the last 13 Grand Slams, dominating over the rest of the field and keeping the younger generation behind them at least until Roland Garros. Standing as the favorite at three Majors and having a massive chance to grab the fourth as well, Novak Djokovic is in the driving seat at the moment in comparison to his great opponents, hoping to reduce the gap even more in the rest of the year and even catch Rafael Nadal or even Roger Federer.
Mats Wilander believes Melbourne title will give a massive boost to Novak who should be the favorite at Wimbledon and the US Open as well, having a realistic chance of catching the players ahead of him this year or in 2021.
"It is getting closer and closer in the GOAT race and when Novak wins the Australian Open, he usually has a good year," Wilander said. "Does winning here makes him the favorite at Wimbledon where he is the defending champion? Yes, which brings his tally to 18 Majors, making him the first pick at the US Open as well for the potentially 19th crown.
At the end of the year, we could have two players on 20 or two players on 19 Majors or more, because Novak can win all four. Melbourne is a massive win for him going forward. A loss here would have been tough to get confidence and come back.
Now, the door is open for him to start climbing through and talk about being the greatest ever. The 'big 3' refuse to lose, pushing each other all the time with no one wanting to go away."