Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2023

Novak Djokovic will be the ‘GOAT’ with ‘a few more Slams’ suggests Roger Federer’s ex-coach

Novak Djokovic became the first men’s singles player to win 23 Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros this year, and Roger Federer’s former coach Ivan Ljubicic has implied that the Serb needs ‘a few more Slams’ to be the definitive ‘GOAT’.

Djokovic was asked about whether he saw himself as the greatest of all time following his historic victory in Paris, and the 36-year-old chose not to comment due to not wanting to disrespect ‘champions from different eras’.

“I don’t wanna say that I am the greatest because I feel it’s a disrespect for all the champions from different eras of our sport, played in totally different way that is played today,” said Djokovic. “Each great champ has left a legacy.”

He added, “I leave the GOAT discussions for someone else. I have a great belief in myself and what I’m capable of doing. This trophy is a confirmation of the level of tennis I still can produce. Grand Slams are my checklist at the moment”.

While Ljubicic says the debate is ‘subjective’, the former coach of Federer has claimed that Djokovic winning a few more major titles will make the debate ‘meaningless’.

“I feel that Novak is the most successful already, but the word ‘greatest’ implies subjectivity and personal preference,” explained the former No.3. “I think that’s good, to be honest – everybody has a preferred GOAT and let the discussion begin.

Ljubicic continued, “If we look at other sports, for example is there a (definitive) GOAT in football? In basketball everybody agrees that it’s Michael Jordan, but he’s not the one with the most trophies. It’s someone that most influenced you personally: for a third of the world it’s Federer, for the other third of the world it’s Nadal and for the final third it’s Novak.”

“If Novak wins a few more Slams – which seems likely at this point – then the debate becomes meaningless. If Novak ends up having five to ten more than the others, we won’t have conversations like this anymore.”

Djokovic will look to continue his lead at the top of the Grand Slam charts at Wimbledon this year, where he will stand as the heavy favourite after winning the grass court major the last four times.

Novak Djokovic vs the rest of men’s tennis

Djokovic stood on his own at the top of the Grand Slam men’s singles charts for the first time in his career after winning Roland Garros.

So we, at Tennishead, wanted to compile a list of the five men’s singles players with the most major titles.

Top five men’s singles Grand Slam champions

  1. Novak Djokovic (23)
  2. Rafael Nadal (22)
  3. Roger Federer (20)
  4. Pete Sampras (14)
  5. Roy Emerson (12)

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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.