Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have monopolized the men's circuit for the past decade and a half. The Big 3 are currently tied with 20 Grand Slams each, after the Serbian has closed the gap thanks to his resounding 2021.
The world number 1 has in fact won three Majors this year, in addition to having touched the legendary 'Calendar Grand Slam ' Had he triumphed at the US Open, the 34-year-old from Belgrade would have become the second man in the Open Era after Rod Laver to clinch all four Grand Slams in the same season.
Federer returned to the field last March after more than a year of absence, but he has scored the misery of 13 official matches without ever shining. A year with more shadows than lights for Nadal too, limited to just seven official tournaments due to a chronic foot injury.
The 35-year-old Spaniard will return to the Abu Dhabi exhibition in December and will take part in the Australian Open 2022. He is uncertain about Nole’s presence in Melbourne, as vaccination will be mandatory to play the Happy Slam.
In an exclusive interview with the 'Tennis365' portal, former Roland Garros semi-finalist Fernando Gonzalez addressed the GOAT issue.
Gonzalez on the GOAT debate
“A few years ago, the idea that anyone could win 10 Grand Slams was incredible, but now we have three guys with 20 and it is just amazing,” Gonzalez told us at the Champions Tennis event in London.
“In terms of the numbers, I’m sure Novak Djokovic is going to end up with the most Grand Slams and maybe the best statistics, but for me there are other factors when you decide who is the greatest. Novak is breaking all the records and it looks like he will continue to do that for a number of years.
For me, you don’t just say this guy had the most the titles so he is the best. You can pick who your favourite is for the way the three guys play, I prefer Roger Federer. His one-handed backhand, serve and volley and his style is more classic.
When you watch Novak he looks like he will never miss a ball and Rafa is running everywhere with pain all over his body, so it is tough to say who is the greatest”. While Federer’s game is all about flair and elegance, the 20-time Grand Slam champion is also a master tactician when it comes to reading his opponent’s moves.
Top stars like Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt, and Novak Djokovic are few of the many stars to have been left flabbergasted by the Swiss’ on-court skill.