Countering the "Take Away Their Best Slam" Argument

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
In my two-plus years here, I’ve read countless posts (especially in regard to Rafa) with this reasoning, “Well, take away his best surface, and how great was he (?)” Something like that. More on how ludicrous I find this reasoning is in just a bit.

Here is a quick chart of the (all) Open Era players who have won 7 or more slams, and what happens when we take away their best tournament. I won’t say “surface” as of course, there are two HC majors (now, and generally speaking).


PlayerTotal Slams Best SlamAdjusted TotalFinals Outside Best Slam, (including wins)
Fed20WC - 81219
Rafa20RG - 13715
Novak17AO - 8919
Sampras14WC - 7711
Borg11RG - 6510
Lendl8US/RG - 3511
Connors8US - 538
Agassi8AO - 4411
McEnroe7US - 436
Wilander7RG/AO - 346

I’m not exactly sure what the above chart proves, as I was just kind of playing along with that reasoning.

But take away Roland Garros (and do the similar for all other players with 7 or more slams in the OE), and only Fed and Novak have more slams, with Pete tied. Rafa has more finals outside his best slam than Pete.

Cool Stat: Rafa’s worst of the three surfaces (all matches) is hard court - and this includes indoors - where he still wins 77.9% of the time. Pete’s overall win percentage is 77.4%. I’m not a Sampras detractor -- just pointing out how great Rafa is, even if we take away clay/RG, or even just relegate him to hard courts.

Now, why would anyone want to take away the best surface or tourney (or “pet slam”) from a player to prove a point? I have no idea - other than to detract with inane distractions. All slams count, and players (especially Rafa, but all players) as they’re able to (notwithstanding injuries and tour mandates) will want to maximize their chances of winning. They’re not trying to win hypothetical tournaments, or be projected onto a tour with different venues, conditions or equipment.

In my opinion, there is some value to “distribution” when it comes to winning all four majors. But even that should not be exaggerated. I rooted for Agassi over Sampras, but I would be foolish to assert that Agassi’s career was better than - or equal to - his rival’s simply because he won the career slam and Pete didn’t.

If anyone still wants to use the "take away their best slam/tourney/surface"-type argument, here are some other fascinating rabbit holes to explore, I guess, on Odds and Ends:

Take away his trumpet, and how great was Louis Armstrong?

Take away his violence-related movies and how great was DeNiro...or Scorsese...or Pacino?

Take away Michael Jordan: how great were the Bulls in the 90s?
 

alexio

Hall of Fame
incorrect comparison, armstrong played one instrument, in tennis they play four instruments, ask yourself who is better..federer or karlovic, then everything will become clear at once, (the same with slams outside a player's pet slam but through an analogy a bit), to be all-rounder is much better than just stupid serve machine, and it's much more valuable objectively and by people altogether, versatility is a huge indicator that determines the greatness/quality of a player, gretzky wouldn't be gretzky if he was just a great playmaker (without scoring goals himself), messi wouldn't be messi if he just played great free kicks and he couldn't be considered as a contender for the mythical goat and so on and so on.. that is, the more you can, the more difficult it is, and therefore the more precious it is
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
incorrect comparison, armstrong played one instrument, in tennis they play four instruments, ask yourself who is better..federer or karlovic, then everything will become clear at once, (the same with slams outside a player's pet slam but through an analogy a bit), to be all-rounder is much better than just stupid serve machine, and it's much more valuable objectively and by people altogether, versatility is a huge indicator that determines the greatness/quality of a player, gretzky wouldn't be gretzky if he was just a great playmaker (without scoring goals himself), messi wouldn't be messi if he just played great free kicks and he couldn't be considered as a contender for the mythical goat and so on and so on.. that is, the more you can, the more difficult it is, and therefore the more precious it is
Of course, my Louis Armstrong "argument" is not a perfect analogy, but there is also no defending the "take away their best slam" argument.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
incorrect comparison, armstrong played one instrument, in tennis they play four instruments, ask yourself who is better..federer or karlovic, then everything will become clear at once, (the same with slams outside a player's pet slam but through an analogy a bit), to be all-rounder is much better than just stupid serve machine, and it's much more valuable objectively and by people altogether, versatility is a huge indicator that determines the greatness/quality of a player, gretzky wouldn't be gretzky if he was just a great playmaker (without scoring goals himself), messi wouldn't be messi if he just played great free kicks and he couldn't be considered as a contender for the mythical goat and so on and so on.. that is, the more you can, the more difficult it is, and therefore the more precious it is
Correct comparison. You cannot take away nothing from someone's achievements. Plus, taking away the number of pet Slams does not determine who is the more all-rounder in Slams.

Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surfaced than Sampras (Nadal has won all four Majors, Pete lacks RG). Yet, if you take away Nadal's pet Slams (RG) and Sampras pet Slams (WB), both of them are tied in 7. It doesn't mean that Sampras has his Slams equally distributed by surface than Nadal.

To determine who has his Slams more evenly distribute by surface, you have to consider who has won more Slams on each surface. Nadal has won at least 2 Slams on each surface (hard, grass and clay), while Federer only has won 1 Slam on clay. 2 Slams on each surface >>> 1 Slam on each surface. Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surface than Federer.
 

D.Nalby12

Legend
Nadal has won 13 at one event while just 7 in remaining 3 Slam events. That's heavy one surface dependent stat. And let's not pretend Nadal is good as Djokovic/Federer in versatility department. He is undisputed clay GOAT with very good resume outside of clay. But Fedovic are on another level when it comes to versatility.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
Nadal has won 13 at one event while just 7 in remaining 3 Slam events. That's heavy one surface dependent stat. And let's not pretend Nadal is good as Djokovic/Federer in versatility department. He is undisputed clay GOAT with very good resume outside of clay. But Fedovic are on another level when it comes to versatility.
Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surface than Federer and Djokovic. Thus, Nadal is more versatile at the Slam level.

You are criticizing Nadal for being too dominant on clay, not for having his Slams less distributed by surface, which makes no sense. Nadal being utterly dominant at RG doesn't mean he is less versatile at the Slam level. Following your logic, Nadal (has won all 4 Majors) is less versatile at the Slam level than Sampras (lacks RG), just because Nadal has won more RG than Sampras WB titles.

To determine who has his Slams more evenly distribute by surface, you have to consider who has won more Slams on each surface. Nadal has won at least 2 Slams on each surface (hard, grass and clay), while Federer and Djokovic only have won 1 Slam on clay. 2 Slams on each surface >>> 1 Slam on each surface. Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surface than Federer and Djokovic.
 
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alexio

Hall of Fame
Correct comparison. You cannot take away nothing from someone's achievements. Plus, taking away the number of pet Slams does not determine who is the more all-rounder in Slams.

Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surfaced than Sampras (Nadal has won all four Majors, Pete lacks RG). Yet, if you take away Nadal's pet Slams (RG) and Sampras pet Slams (WB), both of them are tied in 7. It doesn't mean that Sampras has his Slams equally distributed by surface than Nadal.

To determine who has his Slams more evenly distribute by surface, you have to consider who has won more Slams on each surface. Nadal has won at least 2 Slams on each surface (hard, grass and clay), while Federer only has won 1 Slam on clay. 2 Slams on each surface >>> 1 Slam on each surface. Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surface than Federer.
1. it would be correct had they played only one slam
2. you exactly proved what i said by bringing up your sampras-nadal comparison
3. this funny distribute by surface narrative has already been exposed earlier, just don't wanna go back to that again
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surface than Federer and Djokovic. Thus, Nadal is more versatile at the Slam level.

You are criticizing Nadal for being too dominant on clay, not for having his Slams less distributed by surface, which makes no sense. Nadal being utterly dominant at RG doesn't mean he is less versatile at the Slam level. Following your logic, Nadal (has won all 4 Majors) is less versatile at the Slam level than Sampras (lacks RG), just because Nadal has won more RG than Sampras WB titles.

To determine who has his Slams more evenly distribute by surface, you have to consider who has won more Slams on each surface. Nadal has won at least 2 Slams on each surface (hard, grass and clay), while Federer and Djokovic only have won 1 Slam on clay. 2 Slams on each surface >>> 1 Slam on each surface. Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surface than Federer and Djokovic.
To be fair, I don't really care for this argument, either, as:
a) it's a bit misleading
Correct comparison. You cannot take away nothing from someone's achievements. Plus, taking away the number of pet Slams does not determine who is the more all-rounder in Slams.

Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surfaced than Sampras (Nadal has won all four Majors, Pete lacks RG). Yet, if you take away Nadal's pet Slams (RG) and Sampras pet Slams (WB), both of them are tied in 7. It doesn't mean that Sampras has his Slams equally distributed by surface than Nadal.

To determine who has his Slams more evenly distribute by surface, you have to consider who has won more Slams on each surface. Nadal has won at least 2 Slams on each surface (hard, grass and clay), while Federer only has won 1 Slam on clay. 2 Slams on each surface >>> 1 Slam on each surface. Nadal has his Slams more evenly distributed by surface than Federer.
To be fair, I don't really agree with that argument, either as:

a) it's a bit misleading.
b) I really don't care about distribution, although career slam and four-in-a-row add some value.
 

Nole Slam

Legend
To be fair, I don't really care for this argument, either, as:
a) it's a bit misleading

To be fair, I don't really agree with that argument, either as:

a) it's a bit misleading.
b) I really don't care about distribution, although career slam and four-in-a-row add some value.
4 in a row is ignored by everyone.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
4 in a row is ignored by everyone.
I agree, but I don't only think that was because Novak (generally) has not been greeted with the same adulation as Roger or Rafa.
With the Nole Slam culminating at RG, there was such a short turnaround to Wimbledon...no real downtime to celebrate it.
Also, this completed his own career slam, so that was talked about, with an almost parenthetical -- Oh, he also won four-in-a-row.
Still, in retrospect, I think it should have received much more than it did. It's not quite the Calendar (true) Grand Slam, BUT nobody else has done this in 51 years.
 

Tennis_Freak99

Hall of Fame
I'll play the devil's advocate here, but not in the direction OP's post is heading towards. I do agree that the 'take away' argument to belittle a particular player is nonsensical, however it is an important argument against the entire GOAT debate itself.

If Nadal gets the slam record with around 15-16 RGs, it does not equate to the fact that he his better than Fedovic at all slams/surfaces when he is so far behind them on HC/Grass. Similarly it will be hilarious to call Fedovic the GOAT when they are an astronomical distance behind Nadal at RG/Clay.

They guy who has any claim to GOAThood should be the best of the game at ALL slams, transcending generations
 

BackhandDTL

Hall of Fame
It's not a great argument.

Weeks at #1 and dominant seasons are better arguments against Nadal.
Weeks #1 accumulated against club level opposition doesn’t enhance a GOAT candidate’s resume.

that’s for distinguishing the careers between guys like Murray and Hewitt
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
I'll play the devil's advocate here, but not in the direction OP's post is heading towards. I do agree that the 'take away' argument to belittle a particular player is nonsensical, however it is an important argument against the entire GOAT debate itself.

If Nadal gets the slam record with around 15-16 RGs, it does not equate to the fact that he his better than Fedovic at all slams/surfaces when he is so far behind them on HC/Grass. Similarly it will be hilarious to call Fedovic the GOAT when they are an astronomical distance behind Nadal at RG/Clay.

They guy who has any claim to GOAThood should be the best of the game at ALL slams, transcending generations
I've always defined "GOAT" as greatest player of the Open Era until "now".
The term is a bit silly, but we do this with everything now - all sports, genres of music, movies, etc.
So in that it's really just a comparison of players, and to me a test of how fair we can be, I think it has some value.

My question is: Why do we ask the best to be the "best of the game at ALL slams", transcending generations?
Now, if you're saying that there is no "GOAT" unless he is #1 at each and every slam, I wont' argue if that's what your standard is.
I think that's a bit unrealistic, though.

By the way, I haven't crowned any of the Big 3 as GOAT, and do think that other achievements matter as well, if secondary.
Saying this, I certainly don't think that Rafa's distribution is a problem.
Look at the chart: Even when we take away RG (which is ludicrous) - and take away everyone else's best slam - he is third in "slams" and finals -- with 5 finals apiece at AO, WC and USO. That's damn good -- and compiled while he prioritized clay.
 

brc444

Rookie
I think there has been some recent effort around here to look at the slams more individually and see who has more at each slam. So between Fed and Nadal, Fed has more at A0, Wim, and US so 3/4 of the slams.
 

ND-13

Professional
Take away one surface is a perfectly valid argument.

Tennis is played on clay, grass, slow HC and fast HC and it is just a metric to know who does best overall .

No issues if you support Rafa , No issues if he is your GOAT but to say the player who wins the most majors is the beat overall is where the theory is flawed

The players who managed to win most across all and the players who managed several more weeks at No 1 are better players, as far as I am concerned , considering all 52 weeks of the calendar
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
Take away one surface is a perfectly valid argument.

Tennis is played on clay, grass, slow HC and fast HC and it is just a metric to know who does best overall .

No issues if you support Rafa , No issues if he is your GOAT but to say the player who wins the most majors is the beat overall is where the theory is flawed

The players who managed to win most across all and the players who managed several more weeks at No 1 are better players, as far as I am concerned , considering all 52 weeks of the calendar
I don't know who the mythical GOAT is...still TBD...mostly I advocate for legitimate arguments and fairness.

I don't give Rafa extra points for winning 13 at RG, nor do I detract from his 20 because he "only" won 7 among the other three.

Distribution only swings it a little to me if someone has/hasn't won all four or conversely won four in a row or a double career slam. But I don't see those as giant swings.
 

GabeT

Legend
I've always defined "GOAT" as greatest player of the Open Era until "now".
The term is a bit silly, but we do this with everything now - all sports, genres of music, movies, etc.
So in that it's really just a comparison of players, and to me a test of how fair we can be, I think it has some value.

My question is: Why do we ask the best to be the "best of the game at ALL slams", transcending generations?
Now, if you're saying that there is no "GOAT" unless he is #1 at each and every slam, I wont' argue if that's what your standard is.
I think that's a bit unrealistic, though.

By the way, I haven't crowned any of the Big 3 as GOAT, and do think that other achievements matter as well, if secondary.
Saying this, I certainly don't think that Rafa's distribution is a problem.
Look at the chart: Even when we take away RG (which is ludicrous) - and take away everyone else's best slam - he is third in "slams" and finals -- with 5 finals apiece at AO, WC and USO. That's damn good -- and compiled while he prioritized clay.
All Big3 have accomplishments the others can’t match. That’s why I don’t see an argument for any of them to be GOAT above the other 2.
 

BackhandDTL

Hall of Fame
All Big3 have accomplishments the others can’t match. That’s why I don’t see an argument for any of them to be GOAT above the other 2.
More slams vs weeks #1 accumulated against Nishikor Raonic, post-13 Murray, and Grandpa Fed?

ahahaha. One metric clearly matters more than the other.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
All Big3 have accomplishments the others can’t match. That’s why I don’t see an argument for any of them to be GOAT above the other 2.
Agreed. Different paths, differing comparative strengths and weaknesses, etc. I see them as, essentially, equals and we'll see who ends up accomplishing more/most.

I regard Borg and Sampras as on their overall talent levels as well, but their career accomplishments (though awesome) don't quite measure up.

...too hard for me to factor in other giants like Laver, Rosewall and Gonzales, so I don't really try to.
 

ND-13

Professional
I don't know who the mythical GOAT is...still TBD...mostly I advocate for legitimate arguments and fairness.

I don't give Rafa extra points for winning 13 at RG, nor do I detract from his 20 because he "only" won 7 among the other three.

Distribution only swings it a little to me if someone has/hasn't won all four or conversely won four in a row or a double career slam. But I don't see those as giant swings.

You are absolutely entitled to your views. I know of many who value diversity a great deal in sport, music, arts.

One of the uniqueness of tennis is how different surfaces play differently. It is not like chess or basketball.
 

GabeT

Legend
Huh?

You talked about your opinion. I talked about mine.

What does me disagreeing with you have to do with not enjoying life?
You just repeat the same points over, and over, and over. We got it the first 10000 times.
nothing wrong with supporting Nadal. Just this whole “everyone else is crap” routine gets tiring. Doesn’t it tire you to repeat the same thing so many times?

all Big 3 have accomplishments the others can‘t touch. They are in a class by themselves. You can pick and choose whatever numbers best suit your preferred player.

if I have to compare my preferred player with Nadal I’m happy to point out that Novak is ahead in time at #1, at two of the four slams, at the WTF, and at the Masters. none of that takes away from Nadal’s almost unreal record at the FO. So everyone can focus on what makes them happiest.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
what fairness are you talking about, fairness only looking at numbers? this way going to lead to an impasse, i'm afraid..let's check it out:
according to this logic..
wawrinka greater than nadal at AO..(1 title vs 1) yea, why not coz we just can't get past the surface of things, all is fair..the truth-nadal
nadal vs lendl at uso..nadal is greater,..the truth-lendl (despite one less title-much harder competition in the final-mcenroe, wilander,connors)
gaudio greater than federer at roland garros (1 vs 1)..the truth-federer
gaudio over soderling at roland garros (don't forget to look only at the numbers again-1 vs 0)..the truth-soderling
schweinsteiger over cruyff (1 world cup vs 0) all is fair..(football/soccer fans will catch it)..the truth-cruyff
a player can be the goat with 18 rg+1uso+1ao (without the most prestigious title-wimby)..the truth-no, he can't
gotcha?
My OP wasn't a distillation of every single tennis achievement and conceivable comparison.
I think that I made my own point well.
But, one can always find other things to argue about. Well done.

But yes, many of us tend to mostly, or primarily, look at total number of slams, and that probably is not optimal.
Now, nobody I know would rank Gaudio ahead of, or even with, Roger at RG.
Or, rank Stan ahead of Rafa at AO.
To be honest, I don't really compartmentalize who was better than who at each major and then total them up...I look at it more wholistically.

It does get interesting with Rafa (4 titles plus one final) versus either Lendl (3 titles plus 5 finals) or Novak (same) at US Open.
But, that's really not what this thread was for. there may be differing opinions here.
 

Turning Pro

Hall of Fame
Nadal leads Djokovic at Rg and UsOpen and Djoker the rest.

Here's their best slam distribution.

Nadal 13-4-2-1
Djoker 8-5-3-1

Nothing earth shattering, groundbreaking or dissimilar.

He has at least 5 finals at each of the majors!

Nadal has 20 majors, Djokovic has 17. Like 2pac said: "That's just the way it isssss"

Nadal is just BETTER than ANYONE in the HISTORY if their pet slam.

The G.O.A.T
 
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socallefty

Hall of Fame
Most tennis is played on clay or hard courts around the world. I can’t imagine there are more than 2 or 3 countries where aspiring pros played a lot of tennis on grass. So, if you leave tradition out, grass is a specialist surface that hardly anyone plays. If you are going to leave out a surface from GOAT or Slam count discussions, grass should be the first one left out and clay should be the last one left out.
 

GabeT

Legend
Most tennis is played on clay or hard courts around the world. I can’t imagine there are more than 2 or 3 countries where aspiring pros played a lot of tennis on grass. So, if you leave tradition out, grass is a specialist surface that hardly anyone plays. If you are going to leave out a surface from GOAT or Slam count discussions, grass should be the first one left out and clay should be the last one left out.
Why would clay be the last left out?
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Why would clay be the last left out?
Most popular surface for playing tennis around the world.
Most pros have heavy topspin baseline game suited for playing on clay - so, the most competition (always was the case before Nadal decimated the field) on the surface that the majority of pros grow up on (outside US, UK, Oz).
Only one Slam to win on clay every year while hard courts have two opportunities every year.

I actually think Djokovic is the BOAT amongst players I have watched, but he frittered away his opportunities at too many Slams in his prime and has a lot of ground to make up on Nadal in the GOAT/Slam race. I don’t think being dominant on clay should be held against Nadal in the GOAT race if he finishes with more Slams than Federer and Djokovic as seems likely - if anything, he should be lauded for being invincible on the surface that most pros are good on.

Djokovic and Federer have two chances every year to win Slams on hard courts and have won only 11 each - no one seems to berate them for this while they criticize Nadal for winning too much on clay when he has only one chance to win a Slam on clay every year. Seems like backward thinking to me.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Sorry, clay is not the most popular surface in the world, HC's are:

Sure, let’s post a promotional sentence from a US company that installs hard courts and call it proof. I’ve traveled to 45 countries and tried to play tennis at many of them. It’s much easier to find outdoor clay courts in Europe, Central/South America and many Asian countries. If you are playing indoors in the winter, then you find players playing on hard courts. Of course, I live in the US and its a different story where we all wreck our joints on hard courts.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
In my two-plus years here, I’ve read countless posts (especially in regard to Rafa) with this reasoning, “Well, take away his best surface, and how great was he (?)” Something like that. More on how ludicrous I find this reasoning is in just a bit.

Here is a quick chart of the (all) Open Era players who have won 7 or more slams, and what happens when we take away their best tournament. I won’t say “surface” as of course, there are two HC majors (now, and generally speaking).


PlayerTotal Slams Best SlamAdjusted TotalFinals Outside Best Slam, (including wins)
Fed20WC - 81219
Rafa20RG - 13715
Novak17AO - 8919
Sampras14WC - 7711
Borg11RG - 6510
Lendl8US/RG - 3511
Connors8US - 538
Agassi8AO - 4411
McEnroe7US - 436
Wilander7RG/AO - 346

I’m not exactly sure what the above chart proves, as I was just kind of playing along with that reasoning.

But take away Roland Garros (and do the similar for all other players with 7 or more slams in the OE), and only Fed and Novak have more slams, with Pete tied. Rafa has more finals outside his best slam than Pete.

Cool Stat: Rafa’s worst of the three surfaces (all matches) is hard court - and this includes indoors - where he still wins 77.9% of the time. Pete’s overall win percentage is 77.4%. I’m not a Sampras detractor -- just pointing out how great Rafa is, even if we take away clay/RG, or even just relegate him to hard courts.

Now, why would anyone want to take away the best surface or tourney (or “pet slam”) from a player to prove a point? I have no idea - other than to detract with inane distractions. All slams count, and players (especially Rafa, but all players) as they’re able to (notwithstanding injuries and tour mandates) will want to maximize their chances of winning. They’re not trying to win hypothetical tournaments, or be projected onto a tour with different venues, conditions or equipment.

In my opinion, there is some value to “distribution” when it comes to winning all four majors. But even that should not be exaggerated. I rooted for Agassi over Sampras, but I would be foolish to assert that Agassi’s career was better than - or equal to - his rival’s simply because he won the career slam and Pete didn’t.

If anyone still wants to use the "take away their best slam/tourney/surface"-type argument, here are some other fascinating rabbit holes to explore, I guess, on Odds and Ends:

Take away his trumpet, and how great was Louis Armstrong?

Take away his violence-related movies and how great was DeNiro...or Scorsese...or Pacino?

Take away Michael Jordan: how great were the Bulls in the 90s?
I don't think "take away clay" is about detracting or invalidating Nadal's clay resume, it's to show that Nadal's resume is more one-sided. There's some truth to it as your chart proved that Fed and Djokovic have won more outside their favorite Slam (Federer doesn't really have a favorite Slam anyway - at his peak he had 3 "pet Slams"), but that difference is still marginal because Nadal is no slouch on grass or HC (he does have a huge weakness on indoor courts, though, which should count for something because Fed and Djokovic were better on their weakest surface (clay) than Nadal ever was indoors).

In fact there's a good argument to be made that Nadal's had it the toughest because (for much of his career at least, now he's better on HC than grass) his weakest surface was played 9 months of the tour with 2 Slams. Meanwhile Fed and Djokovic are HC GOAT's. None of this makes any huge difference in the GOAT race IMO since this is just how the tour is organized.

And while Agassi's CGS and better clay record clearly doesn't make him better than Sampras, it's still a major achievement in Agassi's resume that Sampras doesn't have, which makes up a lot of distance between them in the imaginary GOAT standings IMO.
 
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GabeT

Legend
Most popular surface for playing tennis around the world.
Most pros have heavy topspin baseline game suited for playing on clay - so, the most competition (always was the case before Nadal decimated the field) on the surface that the majority of pros grow up on (outside US, UK, Oz).
Only one Slam to win on clay every year while hard courts have two opportunities every year.

I actually think Djokovic is the BOAT amongst players I have watched, but he frittered away his opportunities at too many Slams in his prime and has a lot of ground to make up on Nadal in the GOAT/Slam race. I don’t think being dominant on clay should be held against Nadal in the GOAT race if he finishes with more Slams than Federer and Djokovic as seems likely - if anything, he should be lauded for being invincible on the surface that most pros are good on.

Djokovic and Federer have two chances every year to win Slams on hard courts and have won only 11 each - no one seems to berate them for this while they criticize Nadal for winning too much on clay when he has only one chance to win a Slam on clay every year. Seems like backward thinking to me.
70% of the tour is HC. We are talking about pro tennis, right?
 
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