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The GOAT Debate: Djokovic, Federer or Nadal?

by Jonas Eriksson

I have grown a bit tired of the so-called GOAT debate in recent times. Who is the greatest of all time? Djokovic, Federer or Nadal?

The GOAT debate is perhaps at its peak now that Novak won the French Open and is closing in on Federer and Nadal. This sends die-hard Djokovic fans on a rampage, which in turn sends Federer and Nadal fans on a counter-attack. And on the Internet, there is no place for civil discussion. I’ve seen too much of this already in my Facebook Group “we are all tennis nerds“. Someone has to tout their GOAT here and then the online verbal explosion is only a few minutes away. Djokovic, Federer, or Nadal? Who is the GOAT? Should we care? Can’t you just pick your own hero and be happy with that?

If you’re interested in what racquets the 3 GOATs use and why check out my post/video about the Racquets of the 3 GOATS. What’s fascinating about these three is that they all have different styles and mental abilities, but still manage to reach unbelievable levels of tennis that have never been reached before. We should be thankful that we are able to witness history by all these three players. We will likely never see anything like it in the sport again, so let’s enjoy it instead of attacking the other GOATs (or fans of the other GOATs).

Toxic Fan Culture

I am not a huge fan of sports fan culture gone overboard. It’s great that sports and players have big fans, but when that turns into aggression towards other players/fans, it’s not very pretty. This is a frequent occurrence in team sports, but perhaps not as mainstream in individual sports. But in tennis, we mainly see this occur when people are talking about the three GOATs.

There are no sound obsessions. So if you’re obsessed with a certain tennis player and his or her achievements, try to put it in perspective and dial it down a notch. I think that’s a more healthy and constructive approach than berating others or fervently defending your player(s) and yourself online.

I respect Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal. They are all fantastic ambassadors for the sport. I started being a fan of Federer, then Nadal won me over and now Djokovic has won me over as well. They’re all deserved to be called GOATs, no matter who ends up on top with the most accolades. I think the important thing is that we wish them well and that they can keep contributing to our sport for as long as possible. And we should also make sure to support the generation of players coming behind them. Whenever it’s their time to shine.

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Laura September 13, 2021 - 20:06

Djokovic is definitively NOT the GOAT!

Laura September 13, 2021 - 20:20

Djokovic is not the GOAT or only in his mind. His ego and arrogance (and suspicions of doping) make him a dwarf compared to Gentlemen like Rod Laver (who was not even celebrated or mentioned during the pathetic US Open ceremony). In front of the giant Federer, the James Bond of the court, the man who changed tennis: Mr. Roger Federer. The public is not fooled (just in NY where the crowd was obnoxious to Medvedev, but it is a local specialty).
The numbers speak for themselves beyond any personal preference. Federer and Nadal. Don’t forget Jimmy Connors who won the record of titles.
So, Novak: get a psychiatrist to shrink your ego, take your shovel and your pail and get back to the sandbox where you belong.


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