Tennis’ GOAT: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras or Novak Djokovic?

Tennis’ GOAT: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras or Novak Djokovic?

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Before the current crop of top-ranked men’s tennis players came to prominence, the most frequently cited candidates for greatest of all time were Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. When Pete Sampras broke Emerson’s career record for Grand Slams, his name entered the discussion, as did Roger Federer‘s when The Swiss Maestro later surpassed Sampras’ total.

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With Federer claiming his record eighth Wimbledon crown last summer, and sixth Australian Open title to kick off 2018, there is a growing consensus that he is the best ever to play the game. Still, there are two other current players poised to challenge Federer’s claim to G.O.A.T. in upcoming years.

UPDATED July 15, 2018

GRAND SLAM GREATS

Rafael Nadal won his eleventh French Open in May for his 17th Grand Slam — a total second only to Federer — while Novak Djokovic moved into sole possession of fourth place after winning Wimbledon this year.

Tennis' Grand Slam Greats: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, Novak Djokovic

Below we present some of the numbers behind the Grand Slam title leaders. In head-to-head meetings between the three active leaders, Nadal leads Federer 23-15, while Djokovic leads Nadal 27-24, and Federer 23-22. In 2001, Federer won his only meeting with Sampras in a five-set thriller at Wimbledon.

ROGER FEDERER

Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles (six Australian Open, one French Open, eight Wimbledon, five US Open), the most in history for a male tennis player. He held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a record 237 consecutive weeks and a record total of 310 weeks.

Career Statistics

0
Weeks at No. 1
0
Singles titles
0
Grand Slam titles

% Wins in All Finals

65.7

% Wins in Slam Finals

66.7

RAFAEL NADAL

Nadal has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles (one Australian Open, eleven French Open, two Wimbledon, three US Open), the 2008 Olympic gold medal, a record 20 ATP World Tour 500 tournaments, and 32 ATP World Tour Masters 1000.

Career Statistics

0
Weeks at No. 1
0
Singles titles
0
Grand Slam titles

% Wins in All Finals

68.7

% Wins in Slam Finals

70.8

PETE SAMPRAS

Sampras was the first man to win 14 Grand Slam singles titles (seven Wimbledon, five US Open, two Australian Open). He also won seven year-end championships and finished six consecutive seasons (1993–98) atop the rankings.

Career Statistics

0
Weeks at No. 1
0
Singles titles
0
Grand Slam titles

% Wins in All Finals

72.7

% Wins in Slam Finals

77.8

NOVAK DJOKOVIC

In majors, Djokovic has won six Australian Open titles, three Wimbledon titles, two US Open titles and one French Open title. In 2016, he became the eighth player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam when he defeated Andy Murray in the French Open final.

Career Statistics

0
Weeks at No. 1
0
Singles titles
0
Grand Slam titles

% Wins in All Finals

69.0

% Wins in Slam Finals

61.9

MEN’S SINGLES GRAND SLAM LEADERS

Roger Federer, 20 100%

Rafael Nadal, 17 85.0%

Pete Sampras, 14 — 70.0%

Novak Djokovic, 13 65.0%

Roy Emerson, 12 — 60.0%

Rod Laver, 11 — 55.0%

Bjorn Borg, 11 — 55.0%

Bill Tilden, 10 — 50.0%

Jimmy Connors, 8 — 40.0%

Ivan Lendl, 8 — 40.0%

Andre Agassi, 8 — 40.0%

Fair, or not, one of the most frequent benchmarks used to gauge a player’s greatness is his Grand Slam title total. One can only speculate how many more Slams Borg would have won had he not retired at 26 years of age, or how many Laver would have accrued had he not been banned from playing Grand Slam tournaments for the five years prior to the Open Era.

2018-07-15T13:13:15+00:00 July 15th, 2018|

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