Novak Djokovic - Indian Wells 2024

Novak Djokovic reveals that he ‘will never say’ who he thinks is the GOAT

Novak Djokovic has been speaking on Nick Kyrgios’ ‘Good Trouble’ podcast, with the world No.1 openly inviting the debate about the greatest of all time, but not wanting to make any verdicts himself.

Djokovic has been having a relatively poor season so far, having not reached a final before Roland Garros for the first time since 2018.

This was continued at the Italian Open last week, when the Serbian lost in straight sets to Alejandro Tabilo, who has since gone onto reach the semi-finals.

Despite recent losses, Djokovic is still a record 24-time Grand Slam champion and is consistently in the ‘GOAT’ conversation, something that Kyrgios asked 36-year-old about.

However, Djokovic told Kyrgios that he would never reveal his stance on the GOAT debate ‘out of respect’ for rivals, “For me it’s so hard to have this discussion but I think when it comes to tennis, I enjoy people talking about it.

“And the reason why – the more people talk about it, the more discussion there is towards tennis, so the more tennis benefits from that and as a tennis player, I want that for my sport, I want more children involved in the sport.”

He added, “But I will never say who I think the GOAT is in tennis, I will never say that, I’ll leave it to others. Mostly out of respect to all the greats and all the champions in all the generations before us.”

Although Djokovic did not want to go into the tennis GOAT debate, he did go onto draw comparisons to himself and other sporting legends that inspire him including Serena Williams.

“Something I really admire with Lebron [James], and something I identify with, and Tom Brady as well and Serena is first of all incredible mind of a champion, hunger for success, for improvement, Cristiano Ronaldo is also like that,” explained Djokovic.

“But just willingness on a daily basis to take your body, your mind, your character, your emotions to a different level, to be better version every single day, to crush the borders and limits of everything everyone imposes on you, that’s something Lebron has been doing for so long and that’s why he’s still one of the best in the world, and something I respect and admire about him.”

Djokovic will look to cement his status in tennis history even further at Roland Garros this year, when he bids for a historic 25th Grand Slam title.

Inside the baseline…

Novak Djokovic has probably taken the best route with that question from Nick Kyrgios, as he knows that any definitive answer could have caused a lot of controversy. Although there is more to it than just numbers, Djokovic is definitely leading the GOAT debate in terms of statistical figures and major titles ahead of ‘big three’ rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

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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.