With Novak Djokovic winning his 18th Grand Slam title at the age of 33, is the GOAT debate settled?

The GOAT debate between Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal is one for the ages. But with his 18th Grand Slam win Novak Djokovic has definitely made his case stronger.

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic the no.1 tennis player in the world has just won his 18th Grand Slam, apart from that he also has a total of 82 career titles and a total career earning of US$ 147,751,252. Among other accomplishments he has a career win percentage of 83.1 in ATP and the main draw of the Grand Slams. His two closest competitors are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, here’s a look at their accomplishments.

Roger Federer ranked no.5 in the world holds the record for most Grand Slams won in the open era, 20. He has won the Australian Open 6 times, the Wimbledon 8 times, the US Open 5 times, and the French once. He has a total of 103 career titles, and a won percentage of 82.1 in ATP and Grand Slam main draw. His total prize money earning is US$129,946,683.

Rafael Nadal the no.2 tennis player is best known for his exploits on the clay court and aggressive style of play. He has 20 Grand Slam trophies to his name, which include 13 French Open titles, 4 US Open titles, 2 Wimbledon titles, and 1 Australian Open. He has a total of 86 career titles and a win percentage on the tour stands at 83.1 and total career prize money is US$123,843,596.

Novak Djokovic at the Grand Slams

Novak Djokovic has 18 Grand Slam titles to his credit so far. The first one was the Australian Open in 2008, and the latest one is also the Australian Open 2021.

The breakup;  9 Australian Open trophies, 5 Wimbledon trophies, 3 US Open trophies, and  1 French Open. Undoubtedly Novak’s best slam is the Australian Open, but he has an all surface game and in the future he will win more slams on other surfaces. 

The last time Djokovic won a Wimbledon was in 2019, won a French Open was in 2016, won a US Open was in 2018, and won an Australian Open was this year, 2021. Apart from the huge number of slams won, Djokovic has appeared in the Finals of slams on 10 other occasions. He has 4 runners up appearances at the French Open. He lost thrice to Nadal in 2012, 2014, 2020, and once to Stan Wawrinka in 2015. In the US Open, he has been the losing finalist 5 times. In 2007 to Federer, in 2010 to Nadal, in 2012 to Murray, in 2013 to Nadal and in 2016 again to  Stan Wawrinka. In Wimbledon he has lost once to Andy Murray in 2013. 

At only 33, and with the fitness that Djokovic maintains, he can still win slams for  the next 3-4 years. Djokovic also has the advantage of not being chased by one/ many outstanding tennis players. In comparison when Federer was his age, he knew that he had Djokovic and Nadal in hot pursuit. 

Nearest Competitors

His nearest competitors are undoubtedly Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

In fact, together they are often referred to as the Big 3. Outside the Big 3 the next player with the most number of Grand Slams is Pete Sampras with 14 Slams. Also these four have the record for the most individual Grand Slam wins. Rafael Nadal has 13 French Open titles, Novak Djokovic has 9 Australian Open titles, Roger Federer has 8 Wimbledon trophies, and Pete Sampras has 7 Wimbledon trophies.

Roger Federer has a total of 20 Grand Slams, but at 39 he is close to retirement. Also, it doesn’t seem like Federer is the player that he once was or that he will add many more to his tally. Rumour has it that 2021 can be Federer’s last year on tour.

Rafael Nadal has 20 Grand Slam titles as well. He is 34 but the ultra aggressive physical brand of tennis that he plays, means that his body has degenerated at a much faster rate. But he will be at his best for at least a couple of years. 

Comparison with competitors

Djokovic vs Federer :  
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Roger Federer Novak Djokovic
TournamentDjokovicFederer
Australian Open96
French Open11
Wimbledon58
US Open35
Total Count1820

Djokovic and Federer have faced each other 50 times overall,  with Djokovic leading  27–23. Djokovic leads 13–6 in all Finals and 11–6 in Grand Slams. 

Djokovic vs Nadal:
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Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic
TournamentDjokovicNadal
Australian Open91
French Open113
Wimbledon Championships52
US Open34
Total Count1820

Djokovic and Nadal have faced each other 56 times, with Djokovic leading 29-27 overall. Djokovic leads 15-12 in all Finals, but Nadal leads 10-6 in Grand Slams. 

What the future holds  

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Novak Djokovic

The future looks bright for Novak Djokovic. Once Federer retires, he will look to win many more Grand Slams at the Wimbledon and the same goes for Nadal and the French Open. 

The most important thing for Djokovic will be to maintain his levels of fitness in the years to come, and keep the fire burning in the belly. There may be a few doubts right now as to who the undisputed GOAT of Tennis is, but in a few years time Novak Djokovic would have put to rest all such doubts.

Also Read: Novak Djokovic sidelined with muscle tear post Australian Open 2021 success

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