Andre Agassi Reflects on the ‘GOAT’ Debate Between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Published 03/28/2021, 10:30 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 29: Roger Federer of Switzerland (R) celebrates winning in the Men’s Final match against Raphael Nadal of Spain on day 14 of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Tennis great Andre Agassi has weighed in on the enduring ‘GOAT’ debate involving the Big Three, a moniker for the trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic of men’s tennis.


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The eight-time Grand Slam champion said it is indeed a tough call to pick one among three absolute champions.

Andre Agassi says Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic individually lord grass, clay and hard courts


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Agassi added that what makes the choice especially hard is that all three have had an incredible run of success on their favored turfs. While Federer and Djokovic are generally acknowledged as all-court players, the former has mastery over grass like no other, while the latter is a different beast when it comes to playing on hard court.

The current World Number 1 won a record ninth Australian Open title this year, further reinforcing his credentials on concrete.

As for Nadal, though he had a measure of success on grass and hard courts, he remains the undisputed ‘King of Clay’. An unprecedented 13th French Open title last year further reaffirmed his status on his favorite surface.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 30: Novak Djokovic of Serbia walks past Roger Federer of Switzerland during change of ends in their Men’s Singles Semifinal match on day eleven of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“We’ve the best on fast grass courts with Roger, we have the best on clay and we have the best on hard courts,” Agassi said.

Andre Agassi says will hold his opinion on ‘GOAT’

Agassi, who had a spell with Djokovic as coach, said if one were to compare the careers of the Big Three to their current form, then one might end up making a split choice.

His point hits home when you consider that Federer had been away from tennis for more than a year after a second knee surgery.

With the Swiss pulling back and ceding some ground in the race for ‘GOAT’, as it were, Djokovic and Nadal seized on the opportunity to close the gap on him.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland wait to go on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf, Astoria on in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

While Nadal’s 13th French Open title saw him draw level with the Swiss’ 20 career Grand Slam titles, the Serb took his tally to 18 after lifting the championship trophy at Melbourne Park yet again.


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“It is different to say who has the best career and it is different to say when somebody is playing at their best, who is the best,” Agassi said.


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He added that until the Big Three play each other “a hundred times” on “multiple surfaces”, he will reserve his judgment on ‘GOAT’.


Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.