Novak Djokovic became the author of an extraordinary 2021, which allowed him to close the gap that divided him from eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. By winning the first three Grand Slams of the season, the Serbian phenomenon has reached 20 Majors and the feeling is that it is not over yet.
Should he triumph at the US Open, the world number 1 would not only overtake Roger and Rafa, but would also complete the 'Calendar Grand Slam' Nole is by far the fittest of the Big 3 and everything suggests that he will end his career with the most Grand Prix titles.
Having already broken the all-time record of weeks at the top of the ATP rankings, there are those who argue that Djokovic can already be considered the best ever. Federer now appears to be on the avenue of sunset at 40, while it is becoming increasingly difficult for Nadal to be competitive away from his beloved clay.
In a recent group conversation on 'Racquet', several prominent personalities from the tennis world expressed their views on the GOAT issue.
Nick Kyrgios on the GOAT debate
“Roger Federer!” exclaimed Nick Kyrgios.
However, he was interrupted in between by former World No.7 Mardy Fish. “But Novak could end up with like 25,” said Fish. Fish was clearly in support of Novak Djokovic as he feels that if the Serbian manages to end his career with more majors, he should be the G.O.A.T and not Federer.
Interestingly, 12-time Grand Slam champion, Billie Jean King, was also a part of the discussion and put forward her opinion. “You guys, Nadal and Federer took each other’s titles. Same with Chris and Martina. When you have Nadal and Federer playing against each other, it cuts out how many they could have won,” explained Jean King.
“Okay, stats, you can’t surpass Novak, obviously. But, I think for the fanbase, for fans, for the whole sport in general, I think Federer,” added the Australian. Roger Federer is currently not playing at the US Open 2021 and will undergo a knee surgery soon.
Fans expect him to recover and return to the court as soon as possible. Novak Djokovic began his quest for a 21st Slam with a four-set win over spirited teenager Holger Rune in the first round of the 2021 US Open. Djokovic overcame a mid-match blip to beat the Dane 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1 in just above two hours.
Rune put his heart and soul into the match but couldn't sustain his level physically. The 18-year-old suffered from cramps in the final two sets, which greatly limited his movement.