French tennis star Nicolas Mahut has taken a side in the GOAT debate. He has made a case for both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer for different reasons. He backs Djokovic to be the greatest player of all time according to statistics. However, he still feels that Federer’s impact on tennis is unmatched.
Djokovic has now equalled Federer and Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam tally of 20 titles. Recently the Serb also broke Federer’s record of most weeks as World No. 1. He also boasts an excellent head to head against both Federer and Nadal.
Mahut who is a five time Doubles Grand Slam winner has personally crowned Djokovic as the GOAT mainly due to his exceptional numbers.
“We are entering a very sensitive subject because we must first see the definition of GOAT: what it represents, from the record, it’s obvious that Djokovic would be (the GOAT) if he wasn’t already,” Mahut said. “If we just look at pure statistics, he has more weeks as number 1, he will have the most Slams or at least be tied. The head to head with Federer and Nadal, it is positive against both. If we look at the numbers and statistics, obviously in terms of records, Djokovic would be the biggest.”
But Mahut also argues that numbers cannot end the GOAT debate. He feels that Federer’s impact in tennis cannot be overlooked by anyone and hence he has a superior place in this aspect.
“Now is it just that? I think there is also an element of emotion, of subjectivity on this subject,” Mahut added. “When it comes to tennis – the greatest – there is emotion that comes into play and inevitably the impact that Roger has had on tennis will be greater than that of Novak whatever happens.”
Mahut gave the example of golfers like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in support to his statement proving that players with better numbers are not always the greatest.
“Like in golf, for example, Tiger Woods had more of an impact than Nicklaus,” Mahut explained. “Yet Jack Nicklaus has a better track record than him.”
Lastly, he lauds Djokovic for achieving such exceptional feats. The Serb is now aiming for the Calendar Grand Slam which he will achieve if he wins the upcoming US Open. Mahut highlights how Djokovic’s work ethic and determination has guided him to a stage where he is on the verge of overtaking the likes of Nadal and Federer.
“Maybe Djokovic is the stronger because he came at a time when Federer and Nadal were already there,” said the Frenchman. “That’s what he managed to do very well because he was so far behind. Quite frankly I don’t think we’ll ever be able to decide. Obviously, if we look at the pure figures, the record will speak in favor of Novak.”