Just think, if Nadal never existed, Djokovic would be the undisputed GOAT of all time.

If you truly want to make a point, you do need to come up with a different stack of stats, such as: winning shots distribution, net attacks etc. The fact itself that he won all sorts of tournaments on more or less dissimilar - either merely by color selection or indeed by playing characteristics - surfaces, is inconclusive as to the used style of play. It might just be his default mode ticks all the boxes in order for him to be the most efficient & successful contemporary player, based on a set of high quality broadly compatible properties.
 

Lew II

Legend
If you truly want to make a point, you do need to come up with a different stack of stats, such as: winning shots distribution, net attacks etc. The fact itself that he won all sorts of tournaments on more or less dissimilar - either merely by color selection or indeed by playing characteristics - surfaces, is inconclusive as to the used style of play. It might just be his default mode ticks all the boxes in order for him to be the most efficient & successful contemporary player, based on a set of high quality broadly compatible properties.
Not all baseline shots are the same. Do you think Agassi and Bruguera played the same baseline game? A complete game is more than just alternating net shots and baseline shots. Sampras did that better than Agassi but Agassi was much better across all surfaces. So who was the most complete between them? It's Agassi for sure IMO.
 
26? That’s just at RG. What about the AO? Without Rafa, we’re looking at probably 28 slams for Roger.
26 sounds about right to me. RG 2005-2007, RG 2011, Wimbledon 2008, Australia 2009. Yes he might have had a shot at RG 2008 or Australia 2014, but he also might have lost at some of those I just listed. It probably evens out and winds up as about 26.

Almost no shot he is winning AO 2012 or RG 2019 even without Nadal.
 
Actually come to think of it Federer would have been retired long before 2017 without Nadal. He would retire with comfort believing nobody could challenge his slam record. By the time Djokovic really started getting close it would be too late to make any sort of serious comeback.
 

TennisFan3

Legend
If Nadal did NOT exist, Fed would have been the GOAT.
Fed is better than Novak on clay vs the Field. He would have far more French Open titles than Novak did. Especially from 2005-2008.
 

NoleFam

G.O.A.T.
If Nadal did NOT exist, Fed would have been the GOAT.
Fed is better than Novak on clay vs the Field. He would have far more French Open titles than Novak did. Especially from 2005-2008.
How so? They are at best even at RG but not even outside of it. Federer has a pretty poor record in Rome for someone of his caliber.
 
Djokovic at RG has lost to only Nadal (6 times), Thiem (twice), Federer (once), Wawrinka (once when he won RG), and only 2 bad losses to Cecchinato and Kohlschreiber since 2006.

Federer at RG from 2002-2015 lost to Arazi, Horna, way post prime unseeded Kuerten, Gulbis, Tsonga, at RG in addition to the losses to Nadal (5 times, another in 2019), Djokovic (one time), Soderling (won't count as a bad loss), and Wawrinka.

Then compare their Masters records. No Federer is not better than Djokovic against the field on clay. He is at best equal to the field but probably slightly worse, and clearly worse vs Nadal.
 
Tough to say. You could make the same case with Federer. It's a butterfly effect, without one the other player would have won more, but would they be as good if they didn't have the rival? Would Nadal have been as good as he is without Djokovic chasing his records and pushing him to the limit? Who knows.
 

buscemi

Hall of Fame
Without Nadal, it's quite likely that Federer wins the Calendar Year Grand Slam in 2006 and 2007 and either 10 or 11 straight Majors (depending on whether you think he beats Puerta at the 2005 French Open). Conversely, without Nadal, there's no good reason to think Djokovic wins a single Calendar Year Grand Slam (in the years he won 3 Majors, he lost to Federer & Wawrinka at the French Open).

It would be really tough to deny Federer GOAT status with 2 straight CYGSs.
 
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Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Without Nadal, it's quite likely that Federer wins the Calendar Year Grand Slam in 2006 and 2007 and either 9 or 10 straight Majors (depending on whether you think he beats Puerta at the 2005 French Open). Conversely, without Nadal, there's no good reason to think Djokovic wins a single Calendar Year Grand Slam (in the years he won 3 Majors, he lost to Federer & Wawrinka at the French Open).

It would be really tough to deny Federer GOAT status with 2 straight CYGSs.
You beat me to the punch. I was just about to post the same exact thing until I saw your post.

Nice post!
 

Mitcj

New User
If John McEnroe had never existed, Bjorn Borg might have won two or three more Wimbledons; a couple of U.S. Opens; and would likely have continued dominating the French Open until he got bored. But uh, the problem is. . .John did exist.
 

TripleATeam

Legend
Say you're right and nothing else changes. Say Federer and Djokovic win everything that Nadal stopped them from winning.

Federer: 6 AO, 4-6 RG, 9 WIM, 5 USO. 24-26 Slams, 6 WTF. 2 CYGS, 11 slams in a row.
Djokovic: 8 AO, 4-6 RG, 5 WIM, 5 USO. 22-24 Slams, 5 WTF. 0 CYGS, 4 slams in a row.

Nadal was a bigger roadblock for Federer unless Nadal stops Djokovic in another 2+ slams.
 

upchuck

Professional
Eh. Of the three, Djokovic's career has been the least affected by the existence of the other two, aside from the role they played in propelling him to play better tennis. He's been the apex predator of tennis: when he's fit and focused he wins regardless of the others whereas Nadal and Federer's results have depended on his level for what almost feels like forever at this point; it's been so long.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
Say you're right and nothing else changes. Say Federer and Djokovic win everything that Nadal stopped them from winning.

Federer: 6 AO, 4-6 RG, 9 WIM, 5 USO. 24-26 Slams, 6 WTF. 2 CYGS, 11 slams in a row.
Djokovic: 8 AO, 4-6 RG, 5 WIM, 5 USO. 22-24 Slams, 5 WTF. 0 CYGS, 4 slams in a row.

Nadal was a bigger roadblock for Federer unless Nadal stops Djokovic in another 2+ slams.
7. Minimum.

 
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guitarra

Professional
If non of the other players ranked above or below him existed Bernard Tomic would be indisputable GOAT. Now - deal with it!
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
With no Nadal, Fed wins 9-10 slams in a row, making a mockery of the sport and retiring with 20 slams in 2010 and multiple CYGS.

It’s doubtful Djokovic would emerge the same way without Fedal at the top. Murray might do better in this hypothetical world.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Eh. Of the three, Djokovic's career has been the least affected by the existence of the other two, aside from the role they played in propelling him to play better tennis. He's been the apex predator of tennis: when he's fit and focused he wins regardless of the others whereas Nadal and Federer's results have depended on his level for what almost feels like forever at this point; it's been so long.
It doesn't quite work like that.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
Watch this and then say with a straight face that is the greatest tennis player of all time.

Watch this and then say with a straight face that is the greatest tennis player of all time


You will likely miss the point, so I'll spell it out for you. You can make a compilation of anyone's worst shots. It's not representative of how they normally play
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Watch this and then say with a straight face that is the greatest tennis player of all time

You will likely miss the point, so I'll spell it out for you. You can make a compilation of anyone's worst shots. It's not representative of how they normally play
You have no point. Although I regard Federer as usually just another boring baseliner these days, those shots are indeed not representative of his forehand and smash, or would you say Federer has an unreliable forehand and overhead? They are funny because they are outliers.

Djokovic has a very, very, very unreliable overhead, which even when it goes in is mediocre. His compilation is funny exactly because it IS representative of his proficiency at the net. Or would you say he has a solid overhead that players fear?

One of the reasons for Sampras' success was that he could crowd the net. Even Agassi, one of the greatest exponents of the lob of all time would rarely try one against Sampras for fear of having it hammered away so well he couldn't get to it with a jet pack.
 

Jezza94

Rookie
No Nadal

Roger Federer (28 Slams)
  • Australian Open = (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2017, 2018) = 8 Slams
  • French Open = (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) = 6 Slams
  • Wimbledon = (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2017) = 9 Slams
  • US Open = (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) = 5 Slams
Novak Djokovic (22 Slams)
  • Australian Open = (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020) = 8 Slams
  • French Open = (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) = 4 Slams
  • Wimbledon = (2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019) = 5 Slams
  • US Open = (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018) = 5 Slams
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
You have no point. Although I regard Federer as usually just another boring baseliner these days, those shots are indeed not representative of his forehand and smash, or would you say Federer has an unreliable forehand and overhead? They are funny because they are outliers.

Djokovic has a very, very, very unreliable overhead, which even when it goes in is mediocre. His compilation is funny exactly because it IS representative of his proficiency at the net. Or would you say he has a solid overhead that players fear?

One of the reasons for Sampras' success was that he could crowd the net. Even Agassi, one of the greatest exponents of the lob of all time would rarely try one against Sampras for fear of having it hammered away so well he couldn't get to it with a jet pack.
Djokovic wins about 80% of the points where he hits a smash, which isn't that much lower than Fed (86%) or Nadal (84%), and only misses about 9% of them. That again is not that outrageously high, and certainly not something you'd call representative of his smashes.

Same thing with his proficiency at the net - he has an average to above average success rate at net. Of course this assessment of yours carries the same bias that lead you to say things like:

Djokovic [...] I've seen of few of them try and none would beat Cabal and Farah or Mahut and Herbert [in doubles].
When in fact, Djokovic has beaten Cabal/Farah and Mahut/Herbert multiple times, with less than stellar doubles partners
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
So salty over a little youtube clip? Typical Jokofan.

he has an average to above average success rate at net
High praise in an era awash with baseline bots.

Anyone with eyes can see he's a poor net player. Doesn't matter with poly and slow courts, he still wins a lot.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
So salty over a little youtube clip? Typical Jokofan.
No, the clip is fine. It's your passing off of his misses as "representative" of his overheads that I have a problem with

High praise in an era awash with baseline bots.
It wouldn't make sense to judge Stefan Edberg's prowess as a baseliner because of the era he played in.

Why do it these guys? The game has changed so much, that if you brought actual peak Edberg to 2020, he'd get crushed by these "baseline bots"
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
if you brought actual peak Edberg to 2020, he'd get crushed by these "baseline bots"
No argument whatsoever. There's no place on slow, high bouncing courts with oversized racquets and poly for a player with the skill and finesse of Edberg.

Likewise, baseline bashing retrievers would be crushed by Edberg on a fast court without their 95 square inches of poly.

I guess that's why many consider Federer the GOAT. He's not the best baseline bot and he's not the best all court player, but he's probably the only player who could be top five at both.
 
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