Newly crowned No. 1, Novak Djokovic made history last week as he won a record 24th Grand Slam title by claiming the US Open 2023 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Serbian legend defeated the 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in straight sets (6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3) in just over 3 hours to clinch his 4th US Open title and 3rd Grand Slam of the year. Djokovic avenged his loss to Medvedev in the 2021 US Open final as he became the oldest man (36) to win this title in the Open Era.
The 36-year-old has also extended his lead over arch-rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam tally. The Serbian star is now two clear of Rafael Nadal’s tally of 22 men’s Slam singles titles, with Roger Federer two further back on 20. The trio is central to the tennis GOAT (Greatest of All Time) debate.
A few days ago, Rennae Stubbs claimed that Djokovic wanted to win more trophies than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal because he knew that he couldn’t match the popularity of the Swiss and the Spaniard. In reply, tennis legend Chris Evert asserted that it didn’t matter where his motivation came from and emphasized the fact that he’s passed the other two in the Grand Slam tally and should be admired for that.
American tennis player Reilly Opelka‘s dad, George Opelka, echoed Evert’s opinion. George showered praise on the Serb, sharing a post on ‘X’ captioned, “Novak is just wired different. His legacy is still being written, and it extends beyond popularity contests, record books, and his trophy case. If the media wants to focus on popularity contests, be sure to check in with the locker room too.”
The last part of the post might have been a subtle dig at Federer and Nadal. George Opelka apparently indicated that Djokovic is more popular among the players on the tour than the Swiss and the Spaniard.
Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas weigh in on the Tennis GOAT debate
In an interview with Spanish news publication AS, 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal conceded to Novak Djokovic in the tennis GOAT debate. “I believe that numbers are numbers & statistics are statistics. In that sense, I think he has better numbers than mine & that is indisputable,” he said.
“I don’t drop any rings nor do I have an ego big enough to try to disguise a reality. This is the truth. The rest are tastes, inspiration, sensations that one or the other may transmit to you, that you may like one or the other more. I think that with respect to titles, Djokovic is the best in history & there is nothing to discuss in that,” Nadal further added.
World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas said that the number of titles is a criterion, and Djokovic edges the debate. Tsitsipas added that if the impact of the player is taken into account, then Federer takes the GOAT title by a wide margin.
“If we go by the numbers, Novak Djokovic is definitely the best. He breaks one record after another. He keeps the thirst, while he has nothing left to prove. That’s his character. He’s never happy. It’s like he’s always trying to prove something to someone. If the criteria is who has inspired the world the most & who’s had the biggest impact, it’s definitely Roger Federer, by a wide margin. I don’t think there will be anyone else who can match him,” he said, speaking to the Greek journalist Yannis Palaiologos.
Angira Shah is the Content Writer for the Tennis department at FirstSportz. Studying BE Computer Science at BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus, this is his first experience of the content writing world.
Angira's favorite part of the game is the opportunity to play. Therefore, he took the opportunity offered by FirstSportz to materialise his interest in the game of Tennis. He's a huge FC Barcelona, Messi and Nadal fan.
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