Rafael Nadal should be G.O.A.T of tennis, ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for THESE reasons

Rafael Nadal has defied the norm and has gone on to become the greatest tennis player of all time, better than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the time being

Rafael Nadal in a file photo; Credit: Mutua Madrid Open Twitter page

In the world of modern tennis, there is always a raging debate on who is the greatest player of all time. Many fans say Roger Federer for his sheer artistry and how he laid the base for domination. Many say Rafael Nadal for the way how he tamed Federer’s dominance and how he broke the norm of Spanish players being good only on Clay. Many would argue for Novak Djokovic, for he has a better win-loss record against both Federer and Nadal. However, when one looks at the record of Rafa, he should definitely be considered the Greatest of all Time, definitely much more than Federer and slightly ahead of Djokovic.

In the last 18 years, Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have won 57 out of 68 Grand Slams combined. Their dominance has been well-documented, with Federer starting out. But, Nadal and Djokovic have caught up big time and now the stats are tilted towards Nadal. Rafa has won 20 Grand Slams, the same number as Federer while Djokovic is a close third with 17. What the numbers do not show is how Nadal has broken a norm and established himself as one of the greatest in tennis.

Everyone knows his Grand Slam record. He has won 13 French Open titles, which is the combined number of Grand Slam titles that Pete Sampras has won in his 15-year career. Six out of his 20 Grand Slam titles came when Federer was supreme and blowing every opponent out of the court with his dazzling strokeplay. The best part is the wins came in hard court, clay and grass. Nadal has also overcome Djokovic in most Grand Slams except the Australian Open. However, the Spaniard has something which the Serbian does not have and Federer has also one.

Remarkable feat

Rafa is only the second player in tennis history to have the Golden slam, which is all four Grand Slam titles plus an Olympic gold. The remarkable thing is he has gold in both singles and doubles, something which even Andre Agassi, the only male player before Nadal to have achieved this feat also does not have. Nadal has helped Spain to Davis Cup titles as well.

His achievements are even more remarkable for he has broken the stereotype that Spanish players are only fit for clay courts. Carlos Moya and Sergi Bruguera, two of the best players from Spain before Nadal had been superb clay court players but they could not replicate their success in every other surface. But, Rafa is a different freak altogether.

His lone Australian Open success came by beating Federer. His Wimbledon success also came against the Swiss maestro, a better player than him on grass. In fact, it was Nadal who dented Roger Federer’s dominance on grass first. Remarkably, Rafa has four US Open wins, a surface that he likes the least. Every time Nadal has stepped out on surfaces apart from clay, he has defied the norms.

Remaining quest

Looking at the Olympic success and his combined brilliance in all Grand Slams, Nadal definitely should be the greatest. His 13 titles alone in the French Open entitle him to be the greatest of all time. His Olympic success and Davis Cup titles enhance his reputation even further. However, there are still two challenges remaining in Nadal’s quest to cement his reputation as one of the greatest.

Nadal has never won the year-ending ATP Final tournament, while Federer and Djokovic have won it five times or more. However, 2021 could change that. Heading into the Australian Open 2021, he can become the first player since Rod Laver to win all the four Grand Slams two times or more. Djokovic has won the French Open only once and so has Federer. However, if Nadal pips both of them to the post, he will not only have a 21st Grand Slam title, but he will also be the G.O.A.T ahead of Federer and Djokovic, Period! The numbers and achievements do not lie.

Sportslumo Desk

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