The debate on who the greatest tennis player of all time is has never been more prevalent than it is today. While it may have been Sampras, Borg, Aggassi or even John McEnroe himself that was at the forefront of the debate at one time, the arrival of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic changed men’s tennis forever.
The Big Three have a staggering 63 Grand Slams between them. Nadal currently is in the lead with 22, Djokovic has 21 and Federer is retiring with 20, so it’s no surprise that people can’t seem to come to an agreement on who the GOAT is.
However, speaking ahead of the Laver Cup on Friday where Federer is due to play the last professional match of his career, Team World captain John McEnroe and Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg discussed the incredible things achieved by the Big Three, and McEnroe thinks the answer to the GOAT debate is fairly simple.
“The greatest grass court player of all time is Roger [Federer], the greatest hard-court player is Novak [Djokovic] and the greatest clay court player is Rafa [Nadal],” McEnroe said.
Borg was quick to add Andy Murray into the discussion, who will play alongside Nadal, Federer and Djokovic for Team Europe at Laver Cup, as he’s the person that’s had the most success in an era completely dominated by the Big Three.
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“It is nice to see the ‘Big Four’ – including Andy Murray [playing] together [again]. But what they did in tennis and history, it’s unbelievable,” Borg said.
“Yes, it is unbelievable – we can lose sight of how unbelievable it is,” McEnroe agreed. “But I think in 10 years, 20 years when you look back, you’re like, ‘wow’.
“I don’t think the next guy is going to win 20. Although, I didn’t think any of these three would win this many.”
McEnroe is right, of course. The GOAT debate can never truly be settled for varying reasons, and records were set to be broken. However, his conclusion that all three members of the Big Three are the GOAT in one way or another is perhaps the closest thing to a solution that we’ll ever get.
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