Slam final losses to non ATG players.

Aabye5

Hall of Fame
Sampras didn't have cancer.

Look, Sampras displayed mental toughness several times, but so did Federer. Doesn't mean much.
Sometimes I think some of you guys are just chatbots pulling my leg.

It's called empathy, dude. It was hard for Federer when he lost his former coach, Peter Carter.
 

Kralingen

Hall of Fame
He beat Nadal once (and it is questionable whether Nadal was fully fit here) after not having even won one single set in 13 matches and also afterwards was pretty useless against Nadal. He beat Federer once at 34 on Federer’s worst surface. With Djokovic he beat the peak version at least twice with some additional tough five setter. Stan fares way better against Djokovic than against Fedal whether that is due to matchup or other reasons.
Yeah but Stan was no mug on slower courts, is my point. He was outplaying tf out of Nadal in that AO final, we can editorialize it with the injury but idk, his form in that tournament was really strong.

My point is that Stan was a match for everyone in his peak, to the point where every player had to respect him. His pre-13 or post 2017 results don’t really affect that.

obviously he got Djokovic more than the others, and it does expose the fact Djokovic’s peak really was not all that dominant, nor is his playstyle the type to take the racket out of your hands. Still though, Stan and Murray were playing career-best level in those finals, when I watched the matches I was very impressed by them.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Federer also won while having a bout of mono and while having some injuries himself.

And should I also show you AO 2017?
it's way different when someone you know has it and could actually die from it. To win a match with that kind of thing weighing on your mind (whereas injuries sustained during play are more physical than mental) is pretty impressive, perhaps even unparalleled in tennis, from a mental standpoint.

You'd be better off equating that with the death of Fed's old coach, Peter Carter.
 
Federer - dominated his peak but has some very questionable 00-03 losses (at which age Djokodal were making Slam finals) and then had issues post 2009 dealing with younger ATGs. Then again, Berdych knocked him out of 2 slams in 2010-12…
Overall I think Fed is a victim of playing too long for stuff like H2H. He was great even at an old age.

Djokovic - not as mentally strong as advertised but let’s give some context. WB 2013 - dead after DelPo match, USO ‘12 - wind and just overall awful conditions, USO ‘16 he played the easiest draw maybe ever and was semi hurt/out of it.

I think Djokovic got to a fair amount of finals where his form/fitness wasn’t really at a slam winning level and then just hit a wall. Aka last weekend. But overall Wawrinka really hurt him in his prime which is something the other two don’t have.

Nadal - if Nadal is not fit or fully firing, he will either skip the tournament or lose before the quarters, pretty much always. If he is fit and on form he’s always a contender. As a result he has a better Slam H2H, finals/SF record etc. but in all actuality those numbers are a bit inflated, as he loses early or simply skips tournaments which the other two would play through.

Overall I think Murray/Stan’s level were underrated and I feel for Djokovic a little, as Stan got Nadal and Federer in 13-15 in Slams as well. But yeah, this (and especially the Nishikori loss) is why I can never say Djokovic is unquestionably GOAT. Too many weird losses in his prime.
For me it’s got to be Novak and Fed as 1a and 1b. They each dominated a decade: Fed was the best player of 2001-2010, Novak was the best of 2011-2020. I will say though, after Novak’s 2008 AO victory over what I consider to be very close to peak Fed and His 2015 win over Nadal at RG, he gets the slight nod from me as GOAT if they retired today.
 
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