Novak Djokovic slipped yet another trophy into his illustrious cabinet last Sunday, when he won the Wimbledon title for the sixth time in his career. Thanks to his third consecutive success at Church Road, the world number 1 has thus equaled the all-time Grand Slam record held by eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The great ruler of the last decade is also the youngest and most fit of the Big 3, which is why overtaking could only be a matter of time. The Serbian champion will already try it at the US Open in a month and a half, with all the pressure deriving from the opportunity to create the 'Calendar Grand Slam' (he would be the first to succeed after Rod Laver).
His participation in the Tokyo Olympics is, on the other hand, increasingly uncertain, thanks to the additional restrictions decided by the organizers of the Games. Recall that the 34-year-old from Belgrade holds the record for weeks at the top of the ATP ranking, as well as sharing the one for the most Masters 1000 with Nadal.
In a long interview with the Times of India, the legend of the double Mahesh Bhupathi expressed some reflections on the issue relating to the GOAT.
The Big 3 have won 60 Grand Slam titles
"(Novak Djokovic is) Arguably the toughest of the three mentally when it comes to dealing with big match moments," Mahesh Bhupathi wrote.
"I have seen him beat Roger Federer twice at Grand Slam events from match points down. The former World No. 1 claimed that the Serb's "street-fighter" outlook has not helped put him win over some fans. "He already has most of the records locked up.
Most weeks at No 1, most prize-money won," Bhupathi said. "However, Novak will always rank three in the popularity context. That’s not because he’s (Novak Djokovic) not a good guy," the Indian added.
"It’s because he has been a street-fighter when it comes to digging out matches from the start of his career and has since then developed a love-hate relationship with tennis fans. There is no doubt these three have pushed each other to become better players and take tennis to a level we would struggle to consistently see again," Bhupathi said.
"I personally would never pick out one of them. This past weekend as Novak tied Roger and Rafa at 20 Grand Slam titles I once again felt blessed to have been treated to these three rivalries."