Roger federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

And the ‘GOAT’ is… (according to Dominic Thiem)

Dominic Thiem has had his say on the ‘GOAT’ debate, explaining what factors he believes determine how someone can be labelled as the best ever.

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” said Thiem.

“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

By this admission the 2020 US Open champion has ruled out Roger Federer as the greatest of all time with the Swiss now retired on 20 Grand Slams, two behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

‘The big three’ have dominated majors over the past 19 years, having won 63 out of the last 76 Grand Slam titles. This is something that Thiem knows all too well, having lost seven out of ten matches against Djokovic and Nadal at majors, including three finals.

Dominic Thiem head-to-head vs ‘The big three’

Thiem has played against Djokovic, Nadal and Federer on 34 occasions, only having a positive record against Federer. However, the Austrian did win his last meeting against all of ‘the big three’, which all coincidentally came at the Nitto ATP Finals across 2019 and 2020.

Thiem vs Federer: 5-2

Last meeting (2019) – Thiem beat Federer, 7-5 7-5 (Nitto ATP Finals Round-Robin)

Thiem vs Nadal: 6-9

Last meeting (2020) – Thiem beat Nadal, 7-6(7) 7-6(4) (Nitto ATP Finals Round-Robin)

Thiem vs Djokovic: 5-7

Last meeting (2020) – Thiem beat Djokovic, 7-5 6(10)-7 7-6(5) (Nitto ATP Finals Semi-final)

Despite Djokovic and Nadal being level on 22 major titles, Thiem did seem to make a declaration after Djokovic’s most recent Australian Open triumph.

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” Thiem said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.”

He added, “We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.