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The GOAT debate in men’s tennis will rage on for decades. I believe that a conclusive answer will never be agreed upon by the masses either. However, one of the main areas that impact the GOAT debate is Grand Slam victories. And at the time of writing, Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer all have 20 Grand Slams each. Djokovic was the first one with the opportunity to surpass the 20 mark too. But he lost to Medvedev in the final of the 2021 US Open.
As a new season is rapidly approaching, I figured I’d weigh in and give my two cents on this matter. Which guy will finish his career with the most slams? Read on to find out.
There is only one logical answer – Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has been the most dominant out of the big three in recent years. After all, he has managed to catch both Nadal and Federer on Grand Slam numbers! To do that, he has had to win more slams than them – simple. But for this debate, I believe that there are specific reasons why Djokovic will end up with the most Grand Slam titles:
It’s no great secret that Djokovic is younger than the other two. He is just 34 years old at the time of writing, compared with Rafa at 35 and Federer at 40. As you can see, the numbers aren’t on Federer’s side, which sadly, takes him out of the equation. As for Nadal, sure, he is only one year older than Djokovic. However, his style of play has undoubtedly taken its toll on his body over the years – more on this below.
Even if you assumed that Djokovic and Nadal retired at the same age, this would give Djokovic a shot at 4 more slams than Nadal. But then again, I don’t believe that Djokovic and Nadal will stop playing at the same age.
The physical condition of these guys is arguably the biggest reason why Djokovic will grab the most slams. In 2021, Federer missed more than half of the season, as did Rafael Nadal. They both suffered major injuries, whereas Djokovic has been fit and healthy throughout. He also takes amazing care of his body, ranging from his diet to his training. I’m not saying for a second that Federer or Nadal don’t take care of themselves. I am, however, saying that whatever Djokovic is doing – it’s working better for him than the others.
Current level of play
Despite now being in his mid-30s, Djokovic just seems to be getting better and better. In 2021, his level of tennis surpassed all expectations, especially at Roland Garros. He seems to be hitting the ball harder. He moves better, and his mental strength is just off the charts. Of course, he is still the number one player in the world too. This is backed up by his 3 Grand Slam victories in 2021 alone. And when you compare his level to Federer or Nadal, he is way ahead, in my humble opinion.