Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic ATP

‘Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are a privilege for us all,’ says former world number one

Mats Wilander says he ‘doesn’t care’ who wins the GOAT race between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – he just feels privileged to have witnessed it.

Which of the ‘big three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will go down as the greatest of all time is a subject that is debated, often heatedly, among tennis fans.

Djokovic and Nadal have shared the Grand Slams between them this season to separate themselves from Federer in the all-time list of major-winners.

However, Wilander believes that with each passing year, statistics become less and less relevant in the debate about which of the three is the greatest.

“Well, I mean, on paper it means Federer at 20, Novak on 21 and Rafa at 22 and I would have said a couple of years ago numbers were very important but it seems like the last couple of years, we have to start talking about momentum in their careers,” Wilander told Eurosport.

“And after Novak Djokovic won three of the four Slams last year and had a chance to win the Calendar Grand Slam and go to 21 Grand Slam victories, didn’t, lost to Medvedev, then Rafa against all odds wins the Australian Open goes to 21. After that, of course, he’s going to win the French Open, goes to 22. So I think here is momentum.

“The question here is for Novak, is he allowed to go and play the US Open because of the vaccination status that’s very important.

“Should this really matter in the end, who wins the GOAT race? Who is the greatest of all time? All three have had their three or four years when they have dominated. Now they’re going back and forth with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic so we we’re just so privileged to be a part of it.

“To me personally, I don’t care who end up with the most Slams. We are going to define this as best three tennis players on the men’s side of the sport.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.