Novak Djokovic’s case for being the greatest tennis player of all time (GOAT) has received the backing of another former world No 1 with Pat Rafter saying his record speaks for itself.
Tennis great Djokovic won a record-extending 24th Grand Slam title last week as he defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the US Open final.
He is now two clear of Rafael Nadal in terms of most Slam won by a man while he is level with Margaret Court for most majors won by an individual – although 13 of the Australian’s titles were won during the amateur era.
And it is not just Djokovic’s incredible Grand Slam achievements that puts him above his peers, he also enjoys a winning head-to-head record against the majority of his rivals – including Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray – he holds the record for most weeks spent at No 1 as he completed a 390th week at the top of the ATP Rankings last week and he is also the only player to claim a Career Golden Masters.
Two-time US Open champion Rafter feels the GOAT debate is closed and Djokovic is the clear winner.
“To me, [with] 24 [Grand Slam singles titles], it’s pretty evident that he’s best player of all time,” the former world No 1 said during the launch of the Brisbane International.
“He’s got the record and he’s probably got the best win-loss record against all the players against each other as well, and against the other top players.”
With the Grand Slam record and GOAT status safely in Djokovic’s hands, the next big questions are how many majors will he end up before he retires.
Despite being 36 years old, the Serbian joked after his latest Flushing Meadows triumph that he is not quite ready to call it a day just yet so that record of 24 will likely increase over the coming years.
“Eventually one day I will leave tennis in about 23, 24 years. (Laughter.) And there is going to be new young players coming up. Until then, I guess you’ll see me a bit more,” he joked.
Even his coach Goran Ivanisevic admitted that there will always be a fresh challenge for Djokovic.
“He likes the challenges. Like you ask me 25, yeah, if he wins 25, he’s going to think, If I win 25, why not 26? It’s always one more, something more,” he said.
“He’s taking care of his body, he’s taking care of everything, every single detail has to be perfect, prepared. He’s never happy on the court. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, not good for us (smiling).
“Generally, you know, he just does drives him through and he wants more and more. That’s why he wants to everything perfect to be on the court, on the practice, and that’s why he has unbelievable results.”