Toni Nadal weighs in on Novak Djokovic debate with claim about Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic's 24th major title at the US Open may have settled the GOAT debate once and for all.

The centre image shows Toni Nadal, with Roger Federer on left and Novak Djokovic on right.
Toni Nadal has weighed in on the tennis GOAT debate with an interesting take on Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Pic: Getty

For many tennis fans, Novak Djokovic's 24th major title at the US Open settled the GOAT debate once and for all. For Toni Nadal - the uncle and former coach of Spanish legend Rafael Nadal - the debate around the greatest player of all time still very much includes Roger Federer.

The Swiss great retired from the sport with 20 major singles titles - an extraordinary feat that has been surpassed by Rafa Nadal (22) and Djokovic. Moreover, Djokovic's crushing straight-sets win over Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final saw him equal Aussie legend Margaret Court's all-time record haul of 24 grand slam titles.

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Djokovic has also surpassed Federer (310) as the longest-serving World No.1 and is currently enjoying a 391st week atop the rankings, having reclaimed the top spot from Carlos Alcaraz. The Serb also boasts a record 38 Masters 1000 titles, compared to Nadal's 36 and Federer's 28.

If that all wasn't ample evidence of his GOAT status, the 36-year-old also leads Nadal 30-29 in career head to heads, with an even more resounding 27-23 winning record over Federer. He also now boasts an unrivalled 36 grand slam final appearances.

Toni Nadal's big call in GOAT debate

Speaking after Djokovic's historic US Open triumph, Toni Nadal weighed in on the GOAT debate by suggesting that the Serb is "probably the best in history". Bizarrely, the 62-year-old coach neglected to include his own nephew in the conversation but suggested the GOAT debate was not open and shut.

Toni admitted that statistically speaking, it was hard to mount a case against Djokovic being considered the greatest of all time. However, the Spaniard said he believed Federer had actually reached a higher level of tennis in his career, despite trailing Djokovic by four major titles - with more surely to come for the Serb.

“Djokovic is a great champion and it will be very difficult to reach him, not only for my nephew, but for anyone,” Nadal told Spanish media outlet, ElDesmarque. “It's very difficult to determine who is the best in history... you have to opt for Djokovic because the titles support him,” he added.

Nadal suggested that the current crop of players at the top of men's tennis are not as strong as when Federer broke onto the scene and that at the Swiss maestro's peak, he still considered him a better player than Djokovic. “Although I think Federer has sometimes managed to play at an even higher level, I think in the world of sport if we go by the numbers, Djokovic is without a doubt the best.”

The obvious argument against Toni is the fact Djokovic won the majority of his grand slam titles during the same era as Federer and Rafa Nadal. Incredibly, Federer already had 16 slams to his name before Djokovic won his second in 2011.

Pictured left to right, tennis legends Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Roger Federer finished his tennis career with 20 grand slam titles compared to Novak Djokovic's 24 and counting. Pic: Getty

Novak Djokovic refuses to weigh in on GOAT debate

Djokovic was also asked for his thoughts after the historic victory at Flushing Meadows but refused to weigh in on the GOAT debate. “I leave that to you guys and all the others, whether I deserve to be a part of that debate,” he replied.

Two years after being sensationally deported, Djokovic will certainly return to the Australian Open in 2024 as the red-hot favourite to own the all-time grand slam record outright. The Serb will be gunning for a staggering 11th title at Melbourne Park, with no plans on slowing down anytime soon.

"I'm going to keep going," Djokovic said after the US Open. "I feel good in my own body. I still feel I got the support of my environment, of my team, of my family.

"Grand slams, I have vocalised that in the last few years, have been always the highest goal and the priority of mine in the whole season. I don't play as much in terms of other tournaments.

"So I try to prioritise my preparation so that I can peak in slams.... So that will not change. That will stay the same in the next season or I don't know how many more seasons I have in my legs. So let's see."

with agencies

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