Roger Federer cops brutal truth bomb after Novak Djokovic's historic win

Wally Masur has weighed in on the tennis GOAT debate and offered a harsh reality check for Roger Federer.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here alongside Roger Federer and his wife.
Novak Djokovic is now two grand slam titles ahead of Roger Federer's record of 20. Image: Getty

Aussie tennis great Wally Masur has claimed Roger Federer isn't in the same conversation as Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal in terms of the greatest player of all time. Djokovic won his 10th Australian Open title on Sunday night, taking him equal with Nadal's all-time men's record of 22 majors.

Djokovic and Nadal are now two ahead of Federer's haul of 20, and with the Swiss Maestro retiring last year he won't be adding to his collection. But a large majority of the tennis world still considers Federer the greatest male player ever, including his wife Mirka.

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At Paris Fashion Week recently, Mirka wore an outfit with a large blue goat on the front - a reference to her husband being the GOAT of tennis (greatest of all time). But according to Masur, he shouldn't even be in the debate.

When asked on Stan Sport's 'Grand Slam Daily' whether Djokovic is the GOAT, Masur said: "Not yet. Rafa's got 22 slams. I'm just going to go with the numbers.

"You cannot compare eras. Don't even bother. It was all relative. So if he (Djokovic) wins 23 slams and Rafa ends up with 22 - he's the greatest. If the opposite is true - Rafa is the greatest."

About Federer, Masur said: "He's sitting on 20 - he's not there, and he's retired. You don't get points for grace in my book. There are no style points. It's not ice skating. I'm just going to go purely with the numbers."

At the start of 2022, all three of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer were still playing and all had 20 grand slam titles each. But Nadal surged to 22 after winning the Australian Open and French Open, before Djokovic won his 21st at Wimbledon.

Djokovic wasn't allowed to play the Australian and US Opens, but will play both in 2023 in a massive boost to his quest to finish with the most majors. He won his 22nd at the Australian Open last week and will return to the US Open in September after the American government announced that vaccination requirements for overseas travellers will be removed in May.

There are also doubts around how much longer Nadal will play after he suffered yet another injury setback in a second-round loss at Melbourne Park.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here with the trophy after winning the Australian Open for a 10th time.
Novak Djokovic shows off the trophy after winning the Australian Open for a 10th time. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images) (James D. Morgan via Getty Images)

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When asked on Sunday night whether he considers himself the GOAT, Djokovic offered a humble response. He said: "First I have to say that, I am so honoured and privileged to be in this discussion, first. Second, I truly honour and admire the history and all the greats that paved the way for all of us to be here where we are.

"I feel like it's difficult to have a conversation about this because every generation is different. You know, 30, 40 years ago you played three out of four slams on the grass with wooden racquets. Technology has advanced so much. Things have changed. Hard to compare generations.

"But I feel like I gave my best really and I'm still doing that. So if the people see me as one of the greatest players to ever play the game, I'm very grateful."

In a scary warning to his rivals, Djokovic refused to put a limit on how many majors he thinks he can win and said he has his sights set on Margaret Court's women's record of 24. "Of course I am motivated to win as many slams as possible," he said.

"At this stage of my career, these trophies are the biggest motivational factor of why I still compete. That's the case without a doubt. I still have lots of motivation. Let's see how far it takes me. I really don't want to stop here. I don't have intention to stop here."

with AAP

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