Novak Djokovic has been the GOAT in coach Goran Ivanisevic’s mind for a while now, even though the Serb equaled Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s Slam tally of 20 Slams only on Sunday.
Novak Djokovic took down the big-serving Matteo Berrettini in comprehensive fashion to claim his sixth title at Wimbledon and third straight Slam of the year. The 34-year-old now shares the record for most Grand Slam titles won by a male player in the Open era, and is the firm favorite to break the tie at this year’s US Open.
Novak Djokovic could also achieve the “Calendar Golden Slam”, i.e. winning all four Majors and the Olympics gold medal in the same year, provided he travels to Japan for the Games later this month.
With a laundry list of records falling at Novak Djokovic’s feet in 2021, it comes as no surprise that Goran Ivanisevic considers him the greatest player of all time. But the Croat also believes that each of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has a claim to the GOAT label, and that fans could have different preferences based on who they liked more.
“For me (the GOAT debate) was over a long time ago. It’s just who you like more,” Ivanisevic said. “Between these three guys, 60 Grand Slams. It’s unreal. Maybe you like Nadal, Federer more, maybe somebody else. For me, not because I’m here, before I was member of the team, for me he was the best.”
Goran Ivanisevic also asserted that Novak Djokovic has a more credible claim to the GOAT title since he has the chance of completing the elusive Calendar Grand Slam.
“I say he’s the only guy who can win four in a row in the same year. I don’t know. If he wins US Open, I think it’s over,” Ivanisevic said.
The Croat went on to add that while Rafael Nadal is still a force to reckon with at Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic is head and shoulders above the competition everywhere else.
“But Nadal is going to fight. Nadal is going to come to French next year. He wants to win more,” Ivanisevic said. “But for me Novak is the biggest ever, he’s gonna be the best. I don’t even have to debate about that.”
“I’m not going to say it’s 30 because it’s a long way” – Goran Ivanisevic on Novak Djokovic’s final Slam tally
Goran Ivanisevic was then probed about how many Grand Slam titles Novak Djokovic is likely to end up with. Ivanisevic refused to give a definitive answer, but suggested that no number is beyond the Serb.
“Everything is possible. I’m not going to say it’s 30 because it’s a long way,” Ivanisevic said. “But five, six, seven years ago we were talking about Federer, only about Federer. Now you have Nadal and him competing who is going to be the best ever.”
Ivanisevic also claimed that Djokovic is often able to get by even when his A-game abandons him. The Croat then predicted that his ward would end all debates by winning the US Open this year and completing the Calendar Slam.
“Something new every day. Even when he’s not playing the best tennis, he’s winning,” Ivanisevic said. “So imagine when he’s playing the best tennis, is impossible to beat him. He’s writing history. He’s going to do it in US Open. I strongly believe he’s going to do it, he’s going to win all four in one year. Then I think story’s over.”