Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been the cornerstones of men's tennis for the past 15 years, having almost entirely rewritten the record book. The Big 3 share the all-time Slam record of 20, after the Serbian star took home his sixth Wimbledon a decade ago.
The number 1 in the world seems to have the best chance of winning other majors, as well as being in the running for the 'Calendar Golden Slam' this year. In the event of a triumph at the US Open, the 34-year-old from Belgrade would seal yet another page of history by (perhaps) putting an end to the debate on the greatest ever.
In fact, Nole can boast a positive balance in the head-to-head both with Federer (27-23) and with Nadal (30-28), an aspect that too often takes a back seat. In a recent interview with the Herald, former Australian champion Pat Cash expressed his opinion on the long-standing GOAT debate.
The 1987 Wimbledon winner did not fail to highlight how much he had affected the slowing of surfaces in this regard.
Cash pays tribute to Roger Federer
“Head-to-heads are significant. If you want to throw in who the greatest player of all time is, you have to have a winning head to head record against your other peers,” Pat Cash said.
“Overall, (as) a player who can do everything, Roger Federer has to be up there. Rafael Nadal, of course, was a very good volleyer and was able to use that," Cash said. "Not in the later years because his tactics were never going to trouble Federer.
But Novak Djokovic’s returning, serving and ground strokes on slower grass courts that we have these days, to me, it feels like a bit of a pity that the courts have slowed down so much. Or the balls have slowed down, I should say."
Cash then proceeded to lavish praise on 20-time Major winner Roger Federer, crediting the Swiss for transforming the sport through his versatile style of play “I think he certainly transformed tennis. He brought it to another level in the modern era.
He showed players could play at the back of the court and be equally as good at the net and around the net,” Cash said. "His movement was phenomenal and I think he certainly brought an element of style and flashiness and the shots he could produce - it’s the best of what we seen from the Bjorg and Connors at the baseline and McEnroe, Edberg, Sampras, those types of volleys."