Djokovic could have been GOAT but ...

1477aces

Hall of Fame
He failed to ruthlessly dominate his generation like Federer did. Specifically Wawrinka and Murray beat him on their way to 5/6 of their slams, 4 times in the finals. Federer only lost once to someone in his generation (Safin '05 AO) and ruthlessly dominated the rest of his generation (roddick and Hewitt). If djokovic had only lost once to Stan and always beat Murray, he'd be sitting on 16 slams with a great chance at getting to 18 and they'd both be one slam wonders. I don't think federer's generation was any weaker than djokovic's (minus Rafa), Federer simply was too consistent in his prime to ever lose to lesser talents.
 

90's Clay

Banned
Djokovic could have been EASY open Era GOAT but he squandered so many slam finals early on.. Suffering from that "Lendlitis" hits you're legacy. You have to convert when the opportunities present themselves
 

timnz

Legend
Djokovic could have been EASY open Era GOAT but he squandered so many slam finals early on.. Suffering from that "Lendlitis" hits you're legacy. You have to convert when the opportunities present themselves
How do you know he squandered those finals? Could not the more plain explanation be in play ie he simply lost to players who were playing better on the day?
 

timnz

Legend
That's what I have been thinking. It's not Federer and Nadal who necessarily hurt him that much. It's the losses to Wawrinka, murray and Nishikori.
But those last 3 players may have simply been playing better on the day. There is no evidence to assume that Djokovic froze or played way below his normal level. Those 3 players aren't exactly number 100 in the world level.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
That's what I have been thinking. It's not Federer and Nadal who necessarily hurt him that much. It's the losses to Wawrinka, murray and Nishikori.
Nadal has hurt him. In 2011, some people were saying that Nadal would never beat Djokovic again after those clay finals, Wimbledon final and US Open final. Nadal came back at Djokovic in 2012 and 2013, and also won the 2014 French Open final.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Murray is better than any Federer's peer but Djokovic definitely could and should have dealt better with Wawrinka.
Not sure you understand match-up issues. Obviously Djokovic >>> Wawrinka overall, but overall on the big stage, Stan's power game at full throttle, combined with mental strength which the likes of Ferrer/Berdych/Tsonga cannot muster, is enough to overcome Nole.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
While you can say he lost 6 times to weak opponents (Murray, Stan and Nishikori ), only 2 of these came in 5 sets. He has also had lucky escapes against Fed(twice ), Rafa (AO12), Delpo (Wimb 13), Anderson, Cilic

I think he is extremely fortunate to play in an era that gave him 3 cup cake years. Imagine him having a career parallel to Fedal. He would have ended up with far less
 

uscwang

Hall of Fame
Novak has lost some close matches but he has also won some others. Those things even out in the long term.
It is his sudden decline after FO 2016 that essentially ends his chance of becoming the GOAT.
 

Noelan

Legend
No way he could:(

But nice try , and good timing, we didn't know without you.
While you can say he lost 6 times to weak opponents (Murray, Stan and Nishikori ), only 2 of these came in 5 sets. He has also had lucky escapes against Fed(twice ), Rafa (AO12), Delpo (Wimb 13), Anderson, Cilic

I think he is extremely fortunate to play in an era that gave him 3 cup cake years. Imagine him having a career parallel to Fedal. He would have ended up with far less
You mean you gave him a 3 cup cake years straight from your nightmares. How unfortunate:( Imagine what kind of life you would have without Djokovic?
 

90's Clay

Banned
How do you know he squandered those finals? Could not the more plain explanation be in play ie he simply lost to players who were playing better on the day?

When you are in the finals and you're an all time great like Nole, you need total care of those chances. Bottom line. You can't be losing to Nadal in the USO final like 2013 when Nole was outplaying him. Or losing to freaking Murray on HC at flushing when Nole is far and away the superior player. Or even losing at least 1 French Open final to Nadal.

2013-2014 should have been HUGE years for Nole. Even a calendar slam year. Even 2012. He was godly at the AO and the rest of the year was mehhh
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Yes, but he is also a pusher meaning he has less chances to beat say a Federer than a lesser player might.

Murray is never ever beating peak Fed at a slam.
AO 2006, where Fed was pretty subpar for his standards would be the only shot Murray would have of beating peak Fed in a slam. But to accomplish even that, Murray cannot show up to play in 2011 or 2016 forms. Otherwise Fed would still win.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
When you are in the finals and you're an all time great like Nole, you need total care of those chances. Bottom line. You can't be losing to Nadal in the USO final like 2013 when Nole was outplaying him. Or losing to freaking Murray on HC at flushing when Nole is far and away the superior player. Or even losing at least 1 French Open final to Nadal.

2013-2014 should have been HUGE years for Nole. Even a calendar slam year.
I never considered the FO losses to Nadal to be poor losses. Prime Rafa was invincible there.

I agree about USO 2013. That was a poor showing from Nole. But USO 2014 was much worse.
 

Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil

Talk Tennis Guru
Not sure you understand match-up issues. Obviously Djokovic >>> Wawrinka overall, but overall on the big stage, Stan's power game at full throttle, combined with mental strength which the likes of Ferrer/Berdych/Tsonga cannot muster, is enough to overcome Nole.
I understand the match-up issues but IMO Djokovic has made it more complicated for himself in some of those Slam meetings. That hasn't been just the case with Stan, Novak sometimes made it harder for himself even in his finest periods, but the Swiss is the one who capitalized on that more often than anyone else. Probably due to very solid mental strength on big occasions I guess.
Yes, but he is also a pusher meaning he has less chances to beat say a Federer than a lesser player might.

Murray is never ever beating peak Fed at a slam.
Yeah I don't see Murray accomplishing that, but on the other hand I don't see guys like Hewitt and Roddick beating peak Djoker at a Slam.
Murray would have been slamless if he played alongside peak/prime Federer and his peers. LMFAO
That doesn't negate what I said. Federer's peers won some Majors before he reached his peak, once he did that it was goodnight for them.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
I understand the match-up issues but IMO Djokovic has made it more complicated for himself in some of those Slam meetings. That hasn't been just the case with Stan, Novak sometimes made it harder for himself even in his finest periods, but the Swiss is the one who capitalized on that more often than anyone else. Probably due to very solid mental strength on big occasions I guess.

Yeah I don't see Murray accomplishing that, but on the other hand I don't see guys like Hewitt and Roddick beating peak Djoker at a Slam.

That doesn't negate what I said. Federer's peers won some Majors before he reached his peak, once he did that it was goodnight for them.
Murray's slam runs are extremely weak . He beat Berdych, RAonic for Christ sake .
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
I understand the match-up issues but IMO Djokovic has made it more complicated for himself in some of those Slam meetings. That hasn't been just the case with Stan, Novak sometimes made it harder for himself even in his finest periods, but the Swiss is the one who capitalized on that more often than anyone else. Probably due to very solid mental strength on big occasions I guess.

Yeah I don't see Murray accomplishing that, but on the other hand I don't see guys like Hewitt and Roddick beating peak Djoker at a Slam.

That doesn't negate what I said. Federer's peers won some Majors before he reached his peak, once he did that it was goodnight for them.
Point 1:

Djokovic IMO lacks variety in his game. For all the talk about him having no weaknesses, this is actually one of them. The fact that he has lost 3 important slam matches (including 2 finals) to a guy who's never even been no.2 in the world clearly shows he has a weakness. Djokovic doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table in the Stan slam matches. He always plays the same game of outlasting Stan, but Stan just never goes away. He is aware of the Wawrinka problem, but he still doesn't do anything to address it.

Point 2:

Roddick of 2004 and 2009 Wimb finals would be good enough to beat Djokovic in a major final.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Murray's slam runs are extremely weak . He beat Berdych, RAonic for Christ sake .
Well to be fair, Cilic, Berdych and Djokovic all in a row on a HC isn't exactly an easy draw for anybody. It was still a bit tougher than Nadal's USO draws for example. And Djokovic's 2016 USO draw too.
 

timnz

Legend
There is little to no evidence to say that Djokovic 'should' have won any more slams than he actually has. Players like Wawrinka having an on-day can beat anyone in the world.
 

Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil

Talk Tennis Guru
Point 1:

Djokovic IMO lacks variety in his game. For all the talk about him having no weaknesses, this is actually one of them. The fact that he has lost 3 important slam matches (including 2 finals) to a guy who's never even been no.2 in the world clearly shows he has a weakness. Djokovic doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table in the Stan slam matches. He always plays the same game of outlasting Stan, but Stan just never goes away. He is aware of the Wawrinka problem, but he still doesn't do anything to address it.

Point 2:

Roddick of 2004 and 2009 Wimb finals would be good enough to beat Djokovic in a major final.
True, and he gets passive for some reason as well. What irritates me the most is that he won the opening set in every Slam loss. Should have realized by now that Stan won't go away easily. For someone who is arguably the best front runner, that little stat sucks.

I wouldn't bet on him beating the Djokovic of 2014-15 finals.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
There is little to no evidence to say that Djokovic 'should' have won any more slams than he actually has. Players like Wawrinka having an on-day can beat anyone in the world.
But having 3 different on-days? o_O

They only seem to happen against Novak.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
I don't think the tennis gods will ever let a player without a good net game become GOAT. It would just be wrong.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
I think the best argument for suggesting Djokovic has underachieved is how late he fixed his various health issues with a new diet. But I don't think this necessarily means he'd be sat on more than 12 Slams right now. He might have been heartbroken for more of his peak as it would have collided more directly with the peak of others.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
True, and he gets passive for some reason as well. What irritates me the most is that he won the opening set in every Slam loss. Should have realized by now that Stan won't go away easily. For someone who is arguably the best front runner, that little stat sucks.

I wouldn't bet on him beating the Djokovic of 2014-15 finals.
That depends. If Roddick is hitting and serving well, he might frustrate Djokovic.

Plus, if he could trouble Fed who is a better grass player than Novak, I think he could beat Novak.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
Novak Djokovic shall have to content himself with being one of the top 5 players of all time.

So be it.
I'm sure that's what he tells himself, but you know he tosses and turns at night thinking about how he could have easily won 20+ grand salamies during the weakest era of all time. No one is ever going to have an opportunity like that again.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
I understand the match-up issues but IMO Djokovic has made it more complicated for himself in some of those Slam meetings.
It always looks like that when there's a match-up issue, Novak's regular game just plays into Stan's hands (he doesn't have Nadal's angles to exploit Stan's movement, Fed's ability to take Stan's time away or Murray's constant change of pace/spin/depth to unsettle his rhytm). When you trounce 99% of the field playing one way (relentless depth and consistency on every ball no matter what you throw at him, the guy's a baseline wall at his best), it's hard to change it against one guy especially when we're talking about tennis players that play 80+ matches a year (it becomes ingrained, no luxury of time to prepare/train differently for each opponent).

Djokovic IMO lacks variety in his game. For all the talk about him having no weaknesses, this is actually one of them. The fact that he has lost 3 important slam matches (including 2 finals) to a guy who's never even been no.2 in the world clearly shows he has a weakness. Djokovic doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table in the Stan slam matches. He always plays the same game of outlasting Stan, but Stan just never goes away. He is aware of the Wawrinka problem, but he still doesn't do anything to address it.
Not sure I'd say tennis ATGs excel in variety, IMO it's always been more about them enforcing their A game on the field than being especially adaptive/having a variety of different gameplans. Of course surfaces/conditions in the past required a higher degree of adaptability than today.

Roddick of 2004 and 2009 Wimb finals would be good enough to beat Djokovic in a major final.
I give that Roddick a chance against anyone on grass but I'd still heavily favour peak Novak, especially Becker Novak with improved serve is one scary good tennis player.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
After 2014-2016 no one has any right to call Fed's era "weak"

At least Fed absolutely dominated his pigeons Roddick, Hewitt and Murray. Only losing to Nadal on clay then grass and HC once past his peak.

Djokovic should've won the CYGS in 2015 and should never be losing to Murray x 2 and Nishikori at a slam. That's 16 slams and arguably GOAT with the best open era domination.
 

Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil

Talk Tennis Guru
That depends. If Roddick is hitting and serving well, he might frustrate Djokovic.

Plus, if he could trouble Fed who is a better grass player than Novak, I think he could beat Novak.
Roddick would have a shot, but unlike a good part of this place, I think Novak's game on grass is very impressive. Maybe people will realize one day that he actually didn't have it easy at Wimbledon.
I'm sure that's what he tells himself, but you know he tosses and turns at night thinking about how he could have easily won 20+ grand salamies during the weakest era of all time. No one is ever going to have an opportunity like that again.
He is only 2 away from 20, there is still a chance. :D:p
It always looks like that when there's a match-up issue, Novak's regular game just plays into Stan's hands (he doesn't have Nadal's angles to exploit Stan's movement, Fed's ability to take Stan's time away or Murray's constant change of pace/spin/depth to unsettle his rhytm). When you trounce 99% of the field playing one way (relentless depth and consistency on every ball no matter what you throw at him, the guy's a baseline wall at his best), it's hard to change it against one guy especially when we're talking about tennis players that play 80+ matches a year (it becomes ingrained, no luxury of time to prepare/train differently for each opponent).
Nice summary.

What is weird to me is that Novak actually dealt with Stan when his beast form just appeared in 2013 but then suffered losses in next years when there shouldn't be any element of surprise as Stan has shown what he is capable of by then. I don't think his (Stan's) peak level went any higher in 2014-16 so to me this whole case looks like something that Novak could have partially prevented. Then again I am a bit biased towards the guy so I don't want to make any mess out of this discussion.
 

cc0509

Talk Tennis Guru
Djokovic could have been EASY open Era GOAT but he squandered so many slam finals early on.. Suffering from that "Lendlitis" hits you're legacy. You have to convert when the opportunities present themselves
Well then it wasn't so easy for him was it?

Gosh are you silly. Not only do you make complete contradictions from day to day but you do it within the same post. It it was so easy to become Open Era Goat he wouldn't have lost so many slam finals! The point is it's not easy to become GOAT, he didn't do it and he very likely won't do it.
 

ghostofMecir

Hall of Fame
Djokovic could have been EASY open Era GOAT but he squandered so many slam finals early on.. Suffering from that "Lendlitis" hits you're legacy. You have to convert when the opportunities present themselves
There is an opponent across the net from you; hence, it's not all about you all the time. The other guy wants to win, too, and has a good enough game. The "opportunities" "presented" themselves because he won 6 matches before the finals. He created every chance he had--they did not simply "present themselves." Wawarinka played some great matches and Murray played one really good one on grass. Yes, Djoko was the favorite in each of those, but the opponent defeating him was not implausible.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
Nice summary.

What is weird to me is that Novak actually dealt with Stan when his beast form just appeared in 2013 but then suffered losses in next years when there shouldn't be any element of surprise as Stan has shown what he is capable of by then. I don't think his (Stan's) peak level went any higher in 2014-16 so to me this whole case looks like something that Novak could have partially prevented. Then again I am a bit biased towards the guy so I don't want to make any mess out of this discussion.
It's a GOAT discussion (it gets messy by default). It's true, Stan already showed in 2013 that he's emerging as a big threat (in addition to usual customers like the other members of big 4) to Novak in slam matches but still who could have guessed the guy would take it one step further in following years and become such a consistent* slam performer at what is still considered an advanced tennis age (28+)? Stan could have easily fizzled out after 2013 like other guys who had a few good slam runs (Gonzo, Verdasco, Soderling, Bagdathis etc.), his case is quite unique in tennis history (as far as I know it anyway).

*I still get a kick out of people (and I mean everyone from tennis fans to media pundits) calling him wildly unpredictable when in fact he's been one of the most predictable players in the last 3 years (go deep in slams, put up laughable efforts outside them) and reached SF or better in 7 out of last 13 slams (few top 5 players can match that).
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
AO 2006, where Fed was pretty subpar for his standards would be the only shot Murray would have of beating peak Fed in a slam. But to accomplish even that, Murray cannot show up to play in 2011 or 2016 forms. Otherwise Fed would still win.
highly doubt it. If Murray, playing and serving his absolute best, still had struggles with 31.5 year old bad back Federer at the AO he wouldn't beat 2006 Federer. 2006 Federer could vaporize him for 2 sets, have a letdown, and come back and finish the job.

No version of Federer from 04-09 loses to any version of Murray at a slam. 08 AO is the only one that's even worth entertaining and even then I highly doubt it
 
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metsman

G.O.A.T.
Point 1:

Djokovic IMO lacks variety in his game. For all the talk about him having no weaknesses, this is actually one of them. The fact that he has lost 3 important slam matches (including 2 finals) to a guy who's never even been no.2 in the world clearly shows he has a weakness. Djokovic doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table in the Stan slam matches. He always plays the same game of outlasting Stan, but Stan just never goes away. He is aware of the Wawrinka problem, but he still doesn't do anything to address it.

Point 2:

Roddick of 2004 and 2009 Wimb finals would be good enough to beat Djokovic in a major final.
Hewitt/Roddick would also be capable of beating Djokovic at the USO. Wouldn't bet on them, but still definitely capable considering some of the people Djokovic has lost to/had trouble with at the USO.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Roddick would have a shot, but unlike a good part of this place, I think Novak's game on grass is very impressive. Maybe people will realize one day that he actually didn't have it easy at Wimbledon.

He is only 2 away from 20, there is still a chance. :D:p

Nice summary.

What is weird to me is that Novak actually dealt with Stan when his beast form just appeared in 2013 but then suffered losses in next years when there shouldn't be any element of surprise as Stan has shown what he is capable of by then. I don't think his (Stan's) peak level went any higher in 2014-16 so to me this whole case looks like something that Novak could have partially prevented. Then again I am a bit biased towards the guy so I don't want to make any mess out of this discussion.
I think Djokovic played more aggressively in 2013 than he did in subsequent years. That helped, but no doubt that Stan's consistent weight of shot makes him uncomfortable.
 

Luckydog

Professional
Djoker has been "lucky" enough,and claimed plenty enough majors in the time window which some guys name weak era.
But trophy is trophy.
He indeed squandered some opportunities at slams,but he clutched more.
Djoker is not the guy who's born to be a dictator on court,but his performances in recent years were impressive and looked invincible.10 years ago,you even could not imagine that.
So,Nole fans should feel satisfied,and see what will happen next.
After all ,he's only 30 years old and the field is not so deep.
 

AiRFederer

Hall of Fame
Eh he can still be GOAT if he miraculously turns it around. 1% chance

He is a tier 1 GOAT though, would anyone disagree?
 

chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
Federer made all of them push themselves to their limits and become the players they are - Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. Federer just set the bar so high for this group. Federer himself didn't have anyone he could look up to and use as motivation in his peak, but if Nadal, Djokovic and Murray were same age, I'm sure he would have become even better.
 
Z

Zara

Guest
He failed to ruthlessly dominate his generation like Federer did. Specifically Wawrinka and Murray beat him on their way to 5/6 of their slams, 4 times in the finals. Federer only lost once to someone in his generation (Safin '05 AO) and ruthlessly dominated the rest of his generation (roddick and Hewitt). If djokovic had only lost once to Stan and always beat Murray, he'd be sitting on 16 slams with a great chance at getting to 18 and they'd both be one slam wonders. I don't think federer's generation was any weaker than djokovic's (minus Rafa), Federer simply was too consistent in his prime to ever lose to lesser talents.
If Murray goes on to win a few more slams and ties with the likes of Becker, Edberg etc. then these losses to Murray won't look bad on Djokovic's resume once it all ends. Murray is already better than Hewitt and Roddick.

Wawrinka is just an anomaly. Though he has 3 slams - a combination of what Hewitt and Roddick had.

Also, isn't dominating your main rivals is an irrelevant factor to many Federer fans compared to main goals?
 
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