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Novak Djokovic needs ‘a couple more Grand Slams’ to end GOAT discussion claims former US Open champion

Novak Djokovic is often part of the ‘GOAT’ debate alongside rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and now 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro has had his say.

Djokovic elected not to compete at the Miami Open this week, after facing an early exit in Indian Wells, but Del Potro has been at the tournament in attendance.

When talking to the media, Del Potro spoke about his former ‘big three’ rivals and revealed that he believes Djokovic needs a couple more majors to prove himself to tennis fans as the undisputed greatest of all time.

“Each one was the best in history at different times. In the period from 2006 to 2009 Roger was unbeatable, but if you went to clay there Rafa was the best,” explained the Argentine. “Novak still had a long way to go, he won more titles than them and it is still being discussed.

“I believe that if he [Djokovic] wins a couple more Grand Slams, there will no longer be a discussion no matter how many Roger and Rafa fans there are.”

If Djokovic is to win anymore majors he will be doing so without coach of five years Goran Ivanisevic, after it was revealed that the pair had split this morning.

Inside the baseline…

Undeniably Novak Djokovic has the best numbers out of the three, but Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are generally more popular amongst tennis audiences which is something that Juan Martin del Potro appeared to suggest. Although he has had some relatively poor results so far this year, it is difficult to believe that Djokovic won’t add another Grand Slam to his already record-breaking tally.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic announces surprise split from coach Goran Ivanisevic

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 82 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 (418 weeks*)

ATP titles: 98

Grand Slam titles: 24

ATP Masters 1000 titles: 40

Olympic medals: 1 (Singles Bronze – 2008)

ATP Finals titles: 7 (2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2022 & 2023)

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.