The recent triumph at the Australian Open 2021 has brought Novak Djokovic just two points away from eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Slam rankings. Many are inclined to believe that - if the number 1 in the world were to succeed in engaging the Swiss and the Spanish - he would legitimize his candidacy for the title of GOAT.
The Serbian veteran is also already certain to break the all-time record of weeks at the top of the ATP ranking, thanks also to the new ranking introduced to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Nadal will have a great chance to win his 21st Grand Slam at Roland Garros in a few months, while Federer's return to the field will take place in Doha in about a week.
In an interview with the 'Sport.es' portal, former Spanish champion Alex Corretja suggested that a player's popularity is not solely determined by his results on the pitch. The reference is to the lower credit enjoyed by Djokovic compared to Federer and Nadal, who are clearly the most loved players by the public.
Corretja talks about the Big 3
"In any case, you can't buy charisma, you have it or you don't have it," Alex Corretja wrote. "It is something that goes beyond results, and I think Novak Djokovic has a lot, but in my opinion, less than he sometimes would like to have."
Corretja did point out that Novak Djokovic has certain qualities that set him apart from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. But the two-time French Open runner-up refused to be drawn into the 'GOAT' debate, and instead showered praise on all three of the legends.
"I am absolutely clear that Novak Djokovic is unique and comparing him to Rafa and Roger seems like a waste of time," Corretja wrote further. "All three, with their strengths and weaknesses, are a blessing for those of us who love sports and life in general."
The trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 15 of the last 16 Grand Slams, and share a mammoth 58 Majors between them. Every other narrative in tennis has seemingly taken a backseat to the Big 3, and right now the there is a lot of interest about which one of the trio will manage to come out as the undisputed leader.
A laundry list of records fell at Djokovic's feet with his win, and a few more await him this season, but the tennis world has been paying almost as much attention to the Serb's incredible feats as to the politics and finances of the ATP tour.