Patrick Mouratoglou, in the Tennis Majors column The eye of the coach, returned to talk about the always heated and in the foreground debate on the GOAT. The French coach wanted to compare Novak Djokovic - star of another incredible season with 3 Slam titles won and the ATP Finals in Turin - and the Swiss Roger Federer.
"I often hear that what Roger did between 2017 and 2019 is as good as what Novak is doing now and that Roger was a better player in 2017 and 2018 than in the years before. However, I believe there is a big difference. I think Federer has been a better tennis player since 2018, actually for one main reason: his backhand.
He made an important decision and started catching the ball much earlier with his backhand and returning it flat instead of cut. This has made a big difference," is the analysis of the 53-year-old French coach. The numbers are all on the Serbian champion's side: an aspect that Serena Williams' former coach has brought out quite clearly in publishing his thoughts on the subject, which continues to divide and discuss fans all over the world.
"At 36 and 37, Roger couldn't win three of the four Grand Slam tournaments, be consistent throughout the year and really be a step above all the players. This didn't happen. Nole makes the difference: physically today he is as good as when he was 26.
This is a big difference. When you are at that physical level you can be consistent throughout the year and consistently beat the best players in the world," Mouratoglou added to reinforce his point.
Djokovic and the secret of his longevity
What Mouratoglou analyzed is true, but it should be underlined that all the Big 3 proved to be competitive, once they reached the age of 32-33, winning titles and annihilating their young opponents.
It is impossible to make comparisons with the past: the only possible comparison is precisely that between Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, the most successful players over that age threshold. Having said that and underlined how extraordinary they have done, it is clear that Djokovic is proving to be perhaps superior to his two rivals, in relation to the age at which he is playing.
At 36 Nole is as strong as he was at 36: he is the timeless man of tennis and to think he can win till 40 is not only an utopia.