British Legend Says Novak Djokovic is Leading the GOAT Debate Over Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Published 08/24/2021, 1:35 PM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 14: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning the Men’s Singles final against Roger Federer of Switzerland during Day thirteen of The Championships – Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)


The most heated argument in the world of tennis continues to be the GOAT debate between the ‘big three’. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have had fans going back and forth for over a decade now. Sharing 60 Grand Slam titles between them, they are perhaps the greatest sporting trio to exist in the same generation. Ahead of the US Open 2021, Federer and Nadal have announced their absence from the tournament. This means that the Serbian will be the sole representative of the big-3 at Flushing Meadows, and Tim Henman feels this is very important for Novak.

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Novak Djokovic to go for record 21st Slam at US Open 2021

After a brilliant campaign this year, World No.1 Novak Djokovic finally decided to rest his body before the last stretch of the season. Following a disappointing Olympics outing where he returned empty-handed, Djokovic headed back home to spend time with his family. He will now head to New York, in his bid to take the lead in the Grand Slam count. And former British legend Tim Henman believes that the Serb is well on his way to becoming the greatest of all time.

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Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Paul Childs

In a recent interview with Tennis365, Henman discussed the GOAT debate between the trio. “There are two different conversations to be had about the greatest player, the best player, and that comes down to a numbers game and Djokovic will win that,” Henman boldly claimed. “If you are talking about impact and popularity, it is a one-horse race and there is no doubt that [Roger] Federer is the most popular player that has ever played our sport.”

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Tim Henman on what will tip the GOAT debate in Djokovic’s favor

Tim Henman

In the recent past, the man gunning for a Calendar Slam has looked in better touch than his compatriots. Both in terms of physical fitness and quality, Djokovic’s levels have been unmatched for a while now. In the same interview at a Prime Video event, Henman addressed the value of that 21st Slam for Novak.

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“You have to say that if Novak goes to 21 and Federer and Nadal are on 20, you would have to say Djokovic is leading that debate over who is the greatest. But throw in a Calendar Grand Slam and it would even elevate him to a different level. He would be the best male player of all time. It just emphasizes how much is on the line for Djokovic and what a win in this US Open could mean.”

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As Novak Djokovic begins his quest for the Calendar Slam, clouds of a potential end to the GOAT debate loom. Can the Serbian machine script history, and finally take that all-important lead when it comes to Grand Slams? We will have to wait and watch!

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

240 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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