The Big 3 at and after age 30: Revisited

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
as expected, barely any attempts here to engage with OP’s point and argue that Djoker played better in certain years or slams. Just “lol hypothetical Fed” and “no ur wrong”, which is convincing stuff
Very revealing, sadly. However, at least one or two actually did put in the effort so that’s better than nothing.

The rest of them though? Bless their hearts.
 

AO13

Hall of Fame
The most important thing about this whole really long post is the last sentence. This is Third Serve's subjective take.

Ask 99 more users to do this analysis, 1/3 of them being Nadal, Federer and Djokovic fans.

The results would be something like 33 - 31 - 35, with few of them actually being objective.

Btw Djokovic is the GOAT.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
Some takes:

1. Going by you subjective analysis Federer get the bulk of his advantage in 2011-2016-2017. True Federer was much better, but Djokovic was injured for most of that season and won nothing. You can't count this one against him.

2. Not sure what the results would be in a one-on-one matchup. Without any further analysis it seems Nadal eats more into Djoko's numbers than Federer's, especially at RG.

3. I think there are few inconsistencies here, like giving 2014 Federer YEC over 2020 Djoko (Federer didn't even show up for the final, Djoko lost the most important match to the best player around IMO - Thiem), while also giving him 2012 YEC over 2018 (here Federer lost to the best player while Djoko played at his very best but "didn't show up" for the finals).

4. I don't agree with other stuff too, but I don't feel like going into details.

5. Federer gets a few walkover wins, others don't, or not as much

6. Will be interesting to see what Djoko has to offer going forward, other than 2018 AO and 2019 W, Federer didn't do much obviously
Good points.

1. I think that staying healthy over an extended period of time is its own form of longevity which is why I still count injury-induced losses. Same thing happened to Fed in 2013 and 2016 and I hold those losses against him here, as I do for Nadal’s 2016 and other injury periods. Fed simply took longer than the other two to have his true “slump period.”

2. This is also a good point. Nadal certainly denies Djokovic plenty of “points” at RG but Fed also eats into Djokovic’s AO and Wimbledon numbers in a manner that—combined—probably has the same overall effect.

3. I wouldn’t necessarily call this an inconsistency. Fed simply made it farther into the tournament and looked more impressive going into the 2014 final. If I recall correctly he actually broke a record for fewest games dropped in the RR (surpassed only by Djokovic in the same tournament). Obviously the walkover in the final is a stain, but Djokovic didn’t reach the final—he lost in three to Thiem. We have no data for the final for either player. Personally, I think Fed played a better semifinal than Djokovic did (the 2019 and 2020 Thiemovic matches were both pretty good, but I’ve always thought the 2019 one was clearly better) and coupled with the dominant RR showing, I gave that to him. Like up to the final I think Fed was better. I think it’s probably fair to say that if Djokovic had survived the Thiem match, though, he’d have at least shown up to the final.

4. No comment.

5. This is true and I point this out in my conclusion as a reason why Djokovic’s final tally here undersells him a bit. A lot of the walkover wins go against him here, namely the ones due to non-injury-related circumstances. But again, I am holding the injuries against the players here because that’s simply an essential aspect of longevity. As we continue into Djokovic’s career, I will maintain the same consistency if he holds out for longer without sustaining a serious injury while we go into Fed’s injury-riddled 2020 and 2021 seasons.

6. Yeah I think Djokovic’s numbers will only go up from here unless he takes a massive dip in form next year—unlikely. I still predict Fed having an advantage in Wimbledon 2019/2025 but that’s the only one that sticks out. Still plenty of room for Djokovic.
 

Kralingen

Talk Tennis Guru
Lebron and MJ born in the same year
well Jordan went to college while LeBron joined the NBA at 18 so it is a tough one. People forget, MJ was already 30 by the time he did the first 3 peat, and was only in his 4th NBA season at the same age LeBron was already an NBA finalist, 2 time MVP, and Olympic Gold Medalist.

And then MJ took 2 years off right in the middle of his prime which further complicates the matter.

I would give the slightest edge to Bron for early career, slight edge to MJ for peak of their powers, LeBron by default in their late 20s/early 30s, Jordan actually leads in their early-to-mid-30s (age 33-36) but beyond that, a glaring and gigantic edge to LeBron for longevity.
 
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RS

Bionic Poster
well Jordan went to college while LeBron joined the NBA at 18 so it is a tough one. People forget, MJ was already 30 by the time he did the first 3 peat, and was only in his 4th NBA season at the same age LeBron was already an NBA finalist, 2 time MVP, and Olympic Gold Medalist.

And then MJ took 2 years off right in the middle of his prime which further complicates the matter.

I would give the slightest edge to Bron for early career, slight edge to MJ for peak of their powers, LeBron by default in their late 20s/early 30s, Jordan actually leads in their early-to-mid-30s (age 33-36) but beyond that, a glaring and gigantic edge to LeBron for longevity.
How long more can you see Lebron playing at a high level? Say top 10 in the world.
 

Kralingen

Talk Tennis Guru
How long more can you see Lebron playing at a high level? Say top 10 in the world.
It's a really tough question, as 'playing at a high level' is a nebulous definition. He can still dominate and be the best player (let's say top 5 player level) on the court for multi-week stretches, maybe a month or so. But one might argue he isn't even a top 10 player in the world now because of his inability to bring his A game across 82 games, and indeed when I did my All-NBA picks last year he was only 3rd team, which is below top 15. His defense is still great in spurts but is inconsistent and doesn't have the same night-to-night impact.

A lot of this is due to his injury-plagued seasons since moving to Los Angeles in 2018, and that is the key point.

If we live in a hypothetical world where no injuries occurred and LeBron got to stay like this forever? I could see 3-4 years at a decent, all-star level (top 10 maybe too high, but top 25 sure)

However all it takes is one misstep and it's over. And that's kind of the point in old age. the act of aging itself really doesn't have that much measurable impact, in fact, today, its effects have been minimized.

It's all about injuries and the issues recovering from them. Something like LBJ's foot last season, that never happened in his prime. And those are more common, tend to linger, and tend to affect a 35 year old a lot more than a 25 year old. So it's all about when the next major injury occurs.
 
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RS

Bionic Poster
I kinda assumed he was still top 10. Bad assumption with my pretty limited knowledge on Bball
 

Kralingen

Talk Tennis Guru
I kinda assumed he was still top 10. Bad assumption with my pretty limited knowledge on Bball
Nah he probably is. In terms of having one guy for a playoff series he absolutely is. These rankings are really difficult to do.

Guys clearly ahead: Jokic, Giannis, Doncic, Tatum, (sadly) Curry, Embiid

Then you could put him anywhere as high as 7 behind them or maybe 12-13 depending how much you weight an all-82 game consistency or how much you value peak and ability to execute in a playoff series.

Guys across 82 games who might be better on a night-to-night basis due to youth: Gilgeous-Alexander, Booker, possibly Edwards/Haliburton
Other older guys who may be similar or more effective in playoff series - Kawhi, KD, Butler

It's crazy the depth of talent in the league today. A comparison would be like if Djokovic was playing against 8 younger Tier 1 or Tier 2 ATGs at once.
 
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Azure

G.O.A.T.
Nice analysis. I am not sure I can make better picks myself. A lot definitely hinges on i juries. Had Fed not picked that knee injury I am pretty sure his decline wouldn’t have been so rapid. I definitely think that his game style is the one best suited to longevity. The big 3 are truly amazing.
 

Holmes

Hall of Fame
As long as tennis is discussed among true fans, the name of Roger Federer will always be mentioned alongside the Del Potros, the Murrays, etc. Guys who were the hypothetical GOATs of their eras.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
What we argue is that Federer had worse losses compared to Djokovic in his 30s.

Even taking achievements out of it the guy was struggling to an array of players in his 30s and not just djokodal.

This is why federer can’t even be in the ball park for level of play either when compared to Djokovic not just records.

Federer definitely had a lot more health problems between his back and his knees than Djokovic and so he wouldn’t contend for CYGS’s. For example in US17, the fall at Wimbledon 18, etc

But when his level outside of those injured slams was more than enough to win most recent slams if you sub him in for Djokovic in the field
 

NoleFam

Bionic Poster
I disagree with the OP but he's entitled to his opinion. The main problem I have and the reason this doesn't really add up is because you can't compare Slams where one missed it despite being in great form and counting that as a win for the other. It's not really a fair comparison if they all didn't play it. Djokovic missed Slams in his 30s because of covid, politics, or he was dq'd, where he would have been a big favorite. The others didn't except maybe Nadal in 2016 RG and still he might not have been ready to win that if healthy.
 

The Blond Blur

G.O.A.T.
Eh the first list of users wasn’t (or, rather, isn’t) that bad. Annoying perhaps, but the last four posters… yeah, they should have been banned years before they actually were.

i-see-what-you-did-there-steve-carell.gif
 

SonnyT

Legend
Eh the first list of users wasn’t (or, rather, isn’t) that bad. Annoying perhaps, but the last four posters… yeah, they should have been banned years before they actually were.
Was it because Federer lost so many real matches among big 3, that you had to make him be the undisputed hypothetical champion?
 

messiahrobins

Hall of Fame
Fed better than Djoker in his 30s relative to the number of slams they actually won IRL. Just got unlucky facing Nadal and Djoker repeatedly in slams whereas the latter 2 faced a lot more mugs
Alcaraz and tsitsipas were heralded the golden childs. Media are embarassing
 

SonnyT

Legend
If Djokovic were abysmal in his most important matches against his main rivals, I would be embarrassed to say that he would've have been an undisputed hypothetical champion, in an idealized world,

I might still like him, but I would be embarrassed to say something which weren't true.
 

Flash777

Rookie
Lol... OP has no qualms selecting an actual GS winner over a runner up citing a higher level?

Atrocious list!

Everyone on their sane minds would agree that Novak has been stellar into 30s compared to other two.
 

RS

Bionic Poster
Who played at a higher level?

1. Federer AO 17 final or Nadal RG 18 final
2. Federer Wim 14 final or Djokovic USO 18 final
3. Blake USO 05 QF or Djokovic RG 14 final
4. Alcaraz USO 22 QF or Murray AO 13 final
5. Nadal RG 19 final or Djokovic USO 15 final
 

fedfan24

Hall of Fame
Federer with a higher peak in his 30s while only 2 out of the 4 Slams while Djokovic won all 4 twice? Of course. I would expect nothing less.
djokovic has been better on clay for sure but overall when you break it down, many of Fed’s losing efforts are higher level than most of djokovic inflated slams since 2020.
 

mahatma

Hall of Fame
Hypothetical Federer the best of the Big 3 in their 30s. Congratulations.
Given now it's well established that Fed in 30s was stronger than Djokodal in 30s - we can now stop citing age gap as a reason of Federer losing to Djokodal in real life :)

lol
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
YouTube for some weird idea thought I should watch AO 17.
There is no way Federer in AO 17 was close to Djok 23, it isn't even close.
I had a look at my Dec 2016 & Jan 2017 comments. Para phrasing from 3x messages. I said "Fed would never win another Major, but with Djo AWAL and Nadal broken he's 50/50 against the field. He's the outright favorite" Federer didn't play great, he just played well. Nadal was struggling to develop power after his back issue and without core strength I didn't rate him high. I didn't htink nadal would make the final. Djok turned out to have an injury, but I thought it was semi metal and physical wear at the time.

There's no way 2023 Djok would play as average as Nadal 2017. Djok serve in 2023 alone would get him over the line, but he also played with a faster and better-placed FH & BH, mixed it up a lot and was not afraid to open the BH via the FH side. Djok wins in 3. or 4.

32+yr Djok is better than 32+yr Fed on all surfaces. Djok had some issues, mental and physical but in general he's continued to develop to cove his recovery issues and maybe stanima very well. Wimbledon where guile is more important than youth might be the exception, but since Wim has become a low bounce Med speed surface I give the averages to Djok.

BTW I was very happy to see Nadal come back. I thought he was gone from 2017 onwards. He has gone defensive on serve, he couldn't generate the FH weight he used to, and he lost some pace in movement.
 

SonnyT

Legend
djokovic has been better on clay for sure but overall when you break it down, many aof Fed’s losing efforts are higher level than most of djokovic inflated slams since 2020.
Oh sure, how could you tell? Federer the grand hypothetical champ! He gagged at the most important stages, 3 times against Djokovic.

The best measurement of what could've happened is what actually happened.
 

SonnyT

Legend
Fedfans' excuse: Federer couldn't handle Djokovic, because Djokovic is 6 years younger.

Djokofans' reply: Djokovic could jostle with Alcaraz, even though Alcaraz is 16 years younger.
 
Fedfans' excuse: Federer couldn't handle Djokovic, because Djokovic is 6 years younger.

Djokofans' reply: Djokovic could jostle with Alcaraz, even though Alcaraz is 16 years younger.
On top of that. Federer just lost to more inferior opponents in his 30s compared to Djokovic.
 

Azure

G.O.A.T.
YouTube for some weird idea thought I should watch AO 17.
There is no way Federer in AO 17 was close to Djok 23, it isn't even close.
I had a look at my Dec 2016 & Jan 2017 comments. Para phrasing from 3x messages. I said "Fed would never win another Major, but with Djo AWAL and Nadal broken he's 50/50 against the field. He's the outright favorite" Federer didn't play great, he just played well. Nadal was struggling to develop power after his back issue and without core strength I didn't rate him high. I didn't htink nadal would make the final. Djok turned out to have an injury, but I thought it was semi metal and physical wear at the time.

There's no way 2023 Djok would play as average as Nadal 2017. Djok serve in 2023 alone would get him over the line, but he also played with a faster and better-placed FH & BH, mixed it up a lot and was not afraid to open the BH via the FH side. Djok wins in 3. or 4.

32+yr Djok is better than 32+yr Fed on all surfaces. Djok had some issues, mental and physical but in general he's continued to develop to cove his recovery issues and maybe stanima very well. Wimbledon where guile is more important than youth might be the exception, but since Wim has become a low bounce Med speed surface I give the averages to Djok.

BTW I was very happy to see Nadal come back. I thought he was gone from 2017 onwards. He has gone defensive on serve, he couldn't generate the FH weight he used to, and he lost some pace in movement.
You may be right when you put it this way. Djokovic is a zen master as far as his body is concerned.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
Lebron and MJ born in the same year

Pretty sure MJ would've retired way later in that case... unless he would've owned LeBron anyway, depending a lot on team composition and such. MJ retired first time around while still putting up prime production. Likewise, I dunno if Lebron would still be going like he is if he wasn't constantly chasing the "ghost" of MJ.
 

DSH

Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks for the one worthwhile response to this thread. Some good arguments here.

1. 2012 vs. 2017 definitely depends more on personal preference than some of these other picks and as I said Nadal played well overall.

I think the surface should also be considered. While neither condition was very favorable for either player, I think Fed was made to look worse on the slow, gritty 2012 surface than Nadal was affected by the faster 2017 surface.

2. Fair take. Actually, I might change my mind on this one. Maybe I’m getting too hung up on that 2019 RR with Fed, although I can’t say I found Djokovic very impressive in that one.

3. I think I still disagree. Fed was certainly up and down but Djokovic had his own struggles on the way to the title and of course he didn’t face Stan or Nadal. I think Djokovic would find Nadal an easier opponent than Fed did but I think he’d have it even tougher with Stan. Overall, I just think Djokovic would be made to look more erratic than he actually was in the face of stronger competition, and he was also carrying an injury which definitely showed at times. Plus… it really is hard to look past Fed’s fifth set performance. In general, I think we’d be inclined to give Djokovic the advantage in a fifth set in these matches but AO 2017 Fed feels like he’d be an exception based on how spectacular that final one against Nadal was.
What affected Nadal was not the surface but the little rest for the final, unlike his rival who had 24 more hours of recovery.
If the semifinals had been played on the same day (as it always should have been and since 2022 that tremendous error has been corrected), the champion would have been the Spanish player, without any problem.
:notworthy:
 

fedfan24

Hall of Fame
Fedfans' excuse: Federer couldn't handle Djokovic, because Djokovic is 6 years younger.

Djokofans' reply: Djokovic could jostle with Alcaraz, even though Alcaraz is 16 years younger.
Oh sure, how could you tell? Federer the grand hypothetical champ! He gagged at the most important stages, 3 times against Djokovic.

The best measurement of what could've happened is what actually happened.
He lost to peak djokovic yes. Reverse the ages and it would be a massacre.
 

jl809

Hall of Fame
The most important thing about this whole really long post is the last sentence. This is Third Serve's subjective take.

Ask 99 more users to do this analysis, 1/3 of them being Nadal, Federer and Djokovic fans.

The results would be something like 33 - 31 - 35, with few of them actually being objective.

Btw Djokovic is the GOAT.
The funny thing about Nadal fans is I don’t think any of them actually think he’s GOAT. They don’t sound like they’ve convinced even themselves when they try to make arguments for it
Fedfans' excuse: Federer couldn't handle Djokovic, because Djokovic is 6 years younger.

Djokofans' reply: Djokovic could jostle with Alcaraz, even though Alcaraz is 16 years younger.
So you think Alcaraz is comparable to peak Djoker lol?
 
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