Djokovic is actually closer to Nadal than Nadal is to Federer

merlinpinpin

Hall of Fame
(For the record, I still think the Big 3 will end up in the current order, ie Federer > Nadal > Djokovic, but things are not as straightforward as they look, and certinaly not as clear cut as 20 > 17 > 16, imho. Sure, some younger people bought into the Sampras narrative that "slams are everything", but let's be real, no-one in their right mind ever ranked Sampras above Laver. Heck, some even rank him below Borg. The ATP is currently pushing that narrative too because it's the one that makes the race look interesting, but they will change it as soon as they find another one that they feel is more exciting.)

1) Slams. No surprise there, everyone knows the totals by heart, with Nadal 3 slams behind Federer and 4 slams ahead of Djokovic. At face value, 4 > 3, but that's before the following kicks into motion.

2) Majors. The only real way of counting achievements if you also want to consider the earlier eras of tennis. Problem is, they're not equivalent and they've changed over the years, so some leeway is obviously needed. Still, when counting majors:
- Nadal doesn't add anything to his tally (or adds 1 because of OG; and although Olympics was never important in tennis, it's starting to become so, so I would be tempted to give it to him, for a major total of 18).
- Djokovic gains a whopping 5 (YEC), for a total of 18 (ties Nadal in that respect).

(Note: this doesn't mean that they're equal, as 1 major isn't worth 1 slam, obviously. Still, they have to count for something.)

3) Dominance. Djokovic is much stronger than Nadal in that respect, with two clear (although not very long) periods of dominance, but Nadal is catching up thanks to the perfect storm that was 2017.

4) Surface/condition analysis. (Yeah, I know this could be seen as basically another take on the "Rafa's resume is clay-skewed" argument.) Of the four surfaces/playing conditions, at the moment, Djokovic has got two at GOAT level and two at ATG level, while Nadal has one at GOAT+ level and two at ATG level, ie:

Nadal:
- clay: GOAT+ (ie best ever)
- grass: ATG
- HC: ATG+ (close to GOAT)
- indoor: irrelevant

Djokovic:
- clay: ATG
- grass: ATG+ (close to GOAT)
- HC: GOAT
- indoor: GOAT

(By way of comparison, here is Federer's tally and why his resume is so impressive: )
Federer:
- clay: ATG (would have been GOAT without Nadal)
- grass: GOAT+ (best ever)
- HC: GOAT+ (best ever)
- indoor: GOAT+ (best ever--although this may be disputed as there are much less indoor tournaments than there were before; still, at least GOAT)

5) Other. The four slams in a row by Djokovic (2015-2016), although not a calendar slam, are obviously worth something, too.


So, to wrap it up, if we count two YEC's as one slam (roughly) and add another one for the fact that Djokovic once won four in a row, even without factoring in things like dominance or mastery of the various surfaces and playing conditions, we get to something like 23 > 17 > 16, which seems closer to the current tennis landscape and the respective careers of the Big 3, imho.
 

Nadal_Django

Hall of Fame
No way Nadal is finishing behind Federer in the slam count. ;)
For that scenario to happen we need a constant slam blockage from Djokovic in the next 3-4 years and we all know that god mode Djokovic can shine only for small period of time. :);)
 

Sport

Legend
Nice try.

20 - 17 = 3.
17 - 13= 4.

Nadal is closer to Federer than Djokovic to Nadal. Nadal is only 3 GS behind Federer, while Djokovic is 4 GS behind Nadal.

Also, your claim that Federer would be clay GOAT without Nadal is laughable. Decugis with 8 RG, Borg with 6 RG, and Djokovic with 5 RG would be over him. Djokovic in 2008 would have stopped Federer and would lead the H2H on clay over Federer, not to mention Djokovic would have more Masters 1000 on clay.

Following your logic, Nadal without Djokovic and Federer would be the second grass GOAT with 6 Wimbledon titles, only behind Sampras.

With your reasoning, Nadal would be the best HC player of all time without Djokovic and Federer, since he would have 7 HC Slams tied with Sampras.

P.S.:
1. Nadal has his GS titles more evenly distributed by surface than both Djokovic and Federer. Nadal has won at least 2 GS on each surface (grass, hard and clay), while Federer and Djokovic only have won 1 GS on clay. 2 GS on each surface >>>>> 1 GS on each surface.

2. Olympic Gold in singles: Federer and Djokovic 0, Nadal 1.

3. Record of Masters 1000: Nadal, 32.
 
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(For the record, I still think the Big 3 will end up in the current order, ie Federer > Nadal > Djokovic, but things are not as straightforward as they look, and certinaly not as clear cut as 20 > 17 > 16, imho. Sure, some younger people bought into the Sampras narrative that "slams are everything", but let's be real, no-one in their right mind ever ranked Sampras above Laver. Heck, some even rank him below Borg. The ATP is currently pushing that narrative too because it's the one that makes the race look interesting, but they will change it as soon as they find another one that they feel is more exciting.)

1) Slams. No surprise there, everyone knows the totals by heart, with Nadal 3 slams behind Federer and 4 slams ahead of Djokovic. At face value, 4 > 3, but that's before the following kicks into motion.

2) Majors. The only real way of counting achievements if you also want to consider the earlier eras of tennis. Problem is, they're not equivalent and they've changed over the years, so some leeway is obviously needed. Still, when counting majors:
- Nadal doesn't add anything to his tally (or adds 1 because of OG; and although Olympics was never important in tennis, it's starting to become so, so I would be tempted to give it to him, for a major total of 18).
- Djokovic gains a whopping 5 (YEC), for a total of 18 (ties Nadal in that respect).

(Note: this doesn't mean that they're equal, as 1 major isn't worth 1 slam, obviously. Still, they have to count for something.)

3) Dominance. Djokovic is much stronger than Nadal in that respect, with two clear (although not very long) periods of dominance, but Nadal is catching up thanks to the perfect storm that was 2017.

4) Surface/condition analysis. (Yeah, I know this could be seen as basically another take on the "Rafa's resume is clay-skewed" argument.) Of the four surfaces/playing conditions, at the moment, Djokovic has got two at GOAT level and two at ATG level, while Nadal has one at GOAT+ level and two at ATG level, ie:

Nadal:
- clay: GOAT+ (ie best ever)
- grass: ATG
- HC: ATG+ (close to GOAT)
- indoor: irrelevant

Djokovic:
- clay: ATG
- grass: ATG+ (close to GOAT)
- HC: GOAT
- indoor: GOAT

(By way of comparison, here is Federer's tally and why his resume is so impressive: )
Federer:
- clay: ATG (would have been GOAT without Nadal)
- grass: GOAT+ (best ever)
- HC: GOAT+ (best ever)
- indoor: GOAT+ (best ever--although this may be disputed as there are much less indoor tournaments than there were before; still, at least GOAT)

5) Other. The four slams in a row by Djokovic (2015-2016), although not a calendar slam, are obviously worth something, too.


So, to wrap it up, if we count two YEC's as one slam (roughly) and add another one for the fact that Djokovic once won four in a row, even without factoring in things like dominance or mastery of the various surfaces and playing conditions, we get to something like 23 > 17 > 16, which seems closer to the current tennis landscape and the respective careers of the Big 3, imho.
Quite literally, one major is worth one slam. They mean the same thing. OSG and WTF aren't majors. Also I don't get your "Djokovic deserves an extra slam for four in a row" logic, I could just as easily postulate that Nadal deserves the equivalent of an extra slam for being the player who has the most number of individual seasons where he's won greater than or equal to one slam. It's totally subjective whether a more concentrated or spread out career is preferable. That said, when talking about "dominance", surely it would be an error to discount the fact that Nadal's clay dominance over his career totally dwarfs any type of dominance Federer and Djokovic have achieved anywhere else?

There's nothing new here, I'm afraid. There's no formulaic way to determine how "great" somebody's career is, and assigning comparative values to masters, WTF, etc. compared to slams is totally dependent on subjective preferences which people will never agree on. Personally, I feel like the big three have now done enough that a very a strong argument can be made to call them the three greatest players of all time (sorry, I really don't buy the Laver hype; Djokovic has also achieved his results in what I perceieve as a more competitive time than Sampras, and besides I'd take 19 masters titles over one additional major any day). Beyond that, let's wait for the conclusion of their careers before even trying to decipher who is closer to whom.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
No way Nadal is finishing behind Federer in the slam count. ;)
For that scenario to happen we need a constant slam blockage from Djokovic in the next 3-4 years and we all know that god mode Djokovic can shine only for small period of time. :);)
Keep dreaming bambo.
 

RF-18

G.O.A.T.
Nice try.

20 - 17 = 3.
17 - 13= 4.

Nadal is closer to Federer than Djokovic to Nadal. Nadal is only 3 GS behind Djokovic, while Djokovic is 4 GS behind Nadal.

Also, your claim that Federer would be clay GOAT without Nadal is laughable. Decugis with 8 RG, Borg with 6 RG, and Djokovic with 5 RG would be over him. Djokovic in 2008 would have stopped Federer and would lead the H2H on clay over Federer, not to mention Djokovic would have more Masters 1000 on clay.

Following your logic, Nadal without Djokovic and Federer would be the second grass GOAT with 6 Wimbledon titles, only behind Sampras.

With your reasoning, Nadal would be the best HC player of all time without Djokovic and Federer, since he would have 7 HC Slams tied with Sampras.

P.S.:
Olympic Gold in singles: Federer and Djokovic 0, Nadal 1.
Record of Masters 1000: Nadal.
Quite a simpleton. When it comes to Djokovic vs Nadal, the majors count doesn't tell the whole story. Djokovic has the better career everywhere except clay. But yeah keep being a simpleton and just look at a number.

Btw, Nadal 0 YECs titles. Guy is irrelevant indoors. Neither Fed or Novak is irrelevant anywhere. They have great career on all surfaces and conditions, no major weakness anywhere. And their consistency everywhere is world class.
 

Ferss111

Rookie
Quite a simpleton. When it comes to Djokovic vs Nadal, the majors count doesn't tell the whole story. Djokovic has the better career everywhere except clay. But yeah keep being a simpleton and just look at a number.

Btw, Nadal 0 YECs titles. Guy is irrelevant indoors. Neither Fed or Novak is irrelevant anywhere. They have great career on all surfaces and conditions, no major weakness anywhere. And their consistency everywhere is world class.
The reason why Nadal has won 0 world tour finals titles is because he always had to face at least one of Federer or Djokovic at their very best there. If he had a joke of a draw like Djokovic's RG 2016 then he would have won it for sure. You are completely wrong if you think Djokovic is an all time great (or even close to being an all time great) on clay.
 

RF-18

G.O.A.T.
The reason why Nadal has won 0 world tour finals titles is because he always had to face at least one of Federer or Djokovic at their very best there. If he had a joke of a draw like Djokovic's RG 2016 then he would have won it for sure. You are completely wrong if you think Djokovic is an all time great (or even close to being an all time great) on clay.
So we should punish Djokovic and Federer for being great everywhere? It's not their fault Nadal is not good enough indoors and that they are much more versatile players.

Djokovic has his RG title in the BAG and tons of SF-F performances so no matter what you say that will stand. Nadal has 0 YECs and that is the fact we gotta deal with for the moment until he wins one/if he wins one.
 

Ferss111

Rookie
So we should punish Djokovic and Federer for being great everywhere? It's not their fault Nadal is not good enough indoors and that they are much more versatile players.

Djokovic has his RG title in the BAG and tons of SF-F performances so no matter what you say that will stand. Nadal has 0 YECs and that is the fact we gotta deal with for the moment until he wins one/if he wins one.
Federer and Djokovic are not all time greats on clay, like it or not. Nadal at least had 2 opponents on indoor hardcourt. Djokovic had just 1 opponent on clay and yet he failed to win RG until he got really a joke of a draw. And yes, we already heard that he beat ABSOLUTE PEAK Nadal at RG. But nobody is going to agree with you on that opinion.
 
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RF-18

G.O.A.T.
Federer and Djokovic are not great on clay, like it or not. Nadal at least had 2 opponents on indoor hardcourt. Djokovic had just 1 opponent on clay and yet he failed to win RG until he got really a joke of a draw. And yes, we already heard that he beat ABSOLUTE PEAK Nadal at RG. But nobody is going to agree with you on that opinion.
If you have a title + additional finals at RG and tons of other titles like the masters on clay against full fields I'd say you are great on the surface. Their consistency there aswell points to being great there.

Nadal doesn't have this.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
Numbers does not tell the entire story in terms of a tennis career! Who you play and how you play and what you had to overcome to win is more important to me as a GOAT!
 

Ferss111

Rookie
If you have a title + additional finals at RG and tons of other titles like the masters on clay against full fields I'd say you are great on the surface. Their consistency there aswell points to being great there.

Nadal doesn't have this.
You can think whatever you want. Anyway, Nadal also has some great records in his career, you know. There are 3 tournaments that he won 11 times. Djokovic never dominated like that anywhere, not even close. His best result is 6 titles at one tournament, but he doesn't even have the AO titles record.
 

RF-18

G.O.A.T.
You can think whatever you want. Anyway, Nadal also has some great records in his career, you know. There are 3 tournaments that he won 11 times. Djokovic never dominated like that anywhere, not even close. His best result is 6 titles at one tournament, but he doesn't even have the AO titles record.
You are changing the subject all the time. Stay on topic please. We know Nadal is a clay god, but other than that he is behind Djokovic. That is the fact.
 

Ferss111

Rookie
You are changing the subject all the time. Stay on topic please. We know Nadal is a clay god, but other than that he is behind Djokovic. That is the fact.
Like it or not, clay is a tennis surface. And in my opinion Nadal's domination there is more impressive than winning one fluke title at a tournament where you are not really great. WTF is a big tournament but Nadal winning 1 title there will not make him a great indoors player. I don't see a big difference between 0 titles and 1 title. His 2010 and 2013 runs in WTF were more impressive than Dimitrov's 2017. The difference was that Nadal didn't get the luck of facing Goffin in the final.
And by the way, don't forget Nadal has a better USO record than Djokovic. Pretty strange for a "nobody" on hardcourt, right?
 

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
You can think whatever you want. Anyway, Nadal also has some great records in his career, you know. There are 3 tournaments that he won 11 times. Djokovic never dominated like that anywhere, not even close. His best result is 6 titles at one tournament, but he doesn't even have the AO titles record.
That's because HC is his best surface which also happens to be the surface on which most of the tour excels, hence his not having double digit titles at any one tournament like Nadal does on clay.
 

Ferss111

Rookie
That's because HC is his best surface which also happens to be the surface on which most of the tour excels, hence his not having double digit titles at any one tournament like Nadal does on clay.
Djokovic's AO competition wasn't harder than Nadal's RG competition. Anyway, my comment was a response to RF-18 who does everything to bring down Nadal. A winner of 17 slams deserves some respect.
 

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
Djokovic's AO competition wasn't harder than Nadal's RG competition. Anyway, my comment was a response to RF-18 who does everything to bring down Nadal. A winner of 17 slams deserves some respect.
I disagree with that first sentence. The competition on hard courts will always be tougher than on clay, that's just the way it is.
 

FHtennisman

Professional
You are changing the subject all the time. Stay on topic please. We know Nadal is a clay god, but other than that he is behind Djokovic. That is the fact.
Nadal is better at the USO series (7 titles vs 6 for Novak) and crucially Nadal has the extra US Open title too.
 

Tiki-Taka

Hall of Fame
I made a thread on that subject more than two years ago when both gaps were three Majors. Wait for Novak to win the 14th title.
 

Ferss111

Rookie
I disagree with that first sentence. The competition on hard courts will always be tougher than on clay, that's just the way it is.
Based on what? Djokovic didn't exactly lose to all time greats in AO. Most of time he lost to the likes of Tsonga, Istomin and Chung. He definitely could have won against any of them. And Wawrinka in 2014 was also beatable. So no, strong competition isn't the reason why Djokovic has won less AO titles than Nadal won RG titles.
 

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
Based on what? Djokovic didn't exactly lose to all time greats in AO. Most of time he lost to the likes of Tsonga, Istomin and Chung. He definitely could have won against any of them. And Wawrinka in 2014 was also beatable. So no, strong competition isn't the reason why Djokovic has won less AO titles than Nadal won RG titles.
That's precisely why the competition is tougher. Even lower ranked players can beat one of the top guys on their day due to being so much more proficient on HC than they are on clay or grass.
 

FHtennisman

Professional
Who cares? Djokovic is much better on the surface overall and that's all that matters.
Nope, he isn't better at the USO series which is an integral month in the season. Nadal is better than Novak in 2 slams and yes, one of them is the US Open which is a HC slam. I'm sure a great deal of people in the tennis world care about that.
 

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
Nope, he isn't better at the USO series which is an integral month in the season. Nadal is better than Novak in 2 slams and yes, one of them is the US Open which is a HC slam. I'm sure a great deal of people in the tennis world care about that.
If someone asked you who the greater player is on hard courts, what would you say?
 

Ferss111

Rookie
And how is RG competition on par with the Aussie Open? You said yourself that Federer and Djokovic are not great on clay. Who is left? Thiem? :D
Federer and Djokovic are not all time greats on clay, that's true. How can a player be an all time great with 1 slam on the surface? But as competition they are at the very least not worse than Murray at AO.
 

Ferss111

Rookie
That's precisely why the competition is tougher. Even lower ranked players can beat one of the top guys on their day due to being so much more proficient on HC than they are on clay or grass.
You know, there are enough players who beat Djokovic in RG as well. Maybe Nadal is just too good there?
 

FHtennisman

Professional
I'm talking about HC overall, not just the month of August. So I ask once again, what would your response be?
Obviously Novak which is why you're trolling.

But the sum aggregates of their totals at 4 slams mean that Nadal is the better player and as well as better at one HC slam and one HC surface (Decoturf).
 
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