While Serena Williams is widely considered the greatest of all-time in the women’s game, the debate in the men’s section as to who is the GOAT still lingers on. Sure, World No.1 Novak Djokovic has better numbers than fellow greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but some section of the crowd still doesn’t want to bestow the tag of a GOAT to the Serbian superstar.
Nonetheless, tennis is almost certain to not see anyone replicate the legacy for Serena, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in time to game. Given their iconic status, they also have a few liberties on the tour, as compared to the other mortals.
One distinct advantage the aforementioned legends carry is not being compelled to participate in other big tournaments, but for the Grand Slams. While Djokovic might still be playing most tournaments, the likes of Serena, Federer and Nadal are largely spotted only at the Grand Slams.
Speaking on the subject, 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova in a recent podcast said, “It’s no coincidence that right now we have the four people that won the most titles, other than Steffi Graf, Novak Djokovic, Roger, Rafa, and Serena because that’s all tennis has become is about the majors. The other tournaments are basically played practice.”
The tour was a bigger prize in my era says Martina Navratilova
The 64-year-old also reflected on her days of playing the sport. As a WTA professional, Navratilova took part in singles, doubles and missed doubles. However, she believes that tennis has changed with more focus on the Grand Slams.
“You know, I would play between 7-8 matches every season- singles, and then, of course, I would play doubles and everything as well. So the mentality was different, and then, of course, the tour was huge. The tour was bigger prize money than the majors,” added the 18-time Grand Slam champion.