Novak Djokovic - US Open 2023 and Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal - Laver Cup 2022

Novak Djokovic is ‘not as liked as the two others’ claims Patrick Mouratoglou

Novak Djokovic is ‘superior’ to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in terms of his ‘willingness to be better’ according to Patrick Mouratoglou, who is the former coach of Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune.

Djokovic has recently extended his lead at the top of the men’s singles Grand Slam charts, with a 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Nadal and Federer trail the Serb, by two and four majors respectively, and Mouratoglou has explained what he believes the biggest strengths of each of the members of the ‘big three’ are.

“Roger probably loves tennis the most,” claimed the Frenchman. “He’s a player, he loves tennis, he’s breathing tennis, living tennis, and that’s why he was playing that type of tennis.”

Mouratoglou continued, “Rafa loves to fight, to suffer, to fight from the first point to the last. Novak wants to dominate, he wants to be better, he has the willingness to be better than anyone. I think he’s superior to the others in that area. He wants it more, he’s prepared to do more. He wants to be on top of the world.”

Djokovic has often divided opinion amongst tennis fans, and Mouratoglou claims that the world No.1 uses this as extra motivation ‘to prove people wrong’.

“His mindset. He’s a conqueror and dominator. He loves to prove people wrong,” claimed the 53-year-old. “The fact that there were so many fans for the two others [Nadal and Federer] and less for him that he was not as liked as the two others, I felt that it created in him the will to make revenge one way or the another. The best answer to that is to be undoubtedly better than them in terms of achievement.”

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer 

The ‘big three’ have dominated men’s tennis in the 21st century, winning 66 of the last 81 major singles tournaments.

However, the age old debate is always about who is really the greatest of all time, so we at Tennishead wanted to delve into the numbers:

Novak Djokovic 

Career-high: No.1 (392 weeks*)

ATP titles: 96

Grand Slam titles: 24

ATP Masters 1000 titles: 39

Olympic medals: 1 (Singles Bronze – 2008)

ATP Finals titles: 6 (2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2022)

Davis Cup titles: 1 (2010)

*Currently the ATP No.1

Rafael Nadal 

Career-high: No.1 (209 weeks)

ATP titles: 92

Grand Slam titles: 22

ATP Masters 1000 titles: 36

Olympic medals: 2 (Singles Gold – 2008, Doubles Gold – 2016)

ATP Finals titles: 0 (Best result: Final – 2010 & 2013)

Davis Cup titles: 5 (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2019)

Roger Federer

Career-high: No.1 (310 weeks)

ATP titles: 103

Grand Slam titles: 20

ATP Masters 1000 titles: 28

Olympic medals: 2 (Doubles Gold – 2008, Singles Silver – 2012)

ATP Finals titles: 6 (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 & 2011)

Davis Cup titles: 1 (2014)


Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: 30-29

Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer: 27-23

Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer: 24-16

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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.