For a debate to be considered as such and to last over time, maintaining the passion of all its participants, it must fulfill a maxim: not having a clear and objective answer above others. This is what happens with the discussion that has shaken world tennis for a long time and that concerns the Big 3. That the three best tennis players in history, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have coincided in time, it has been an infinite gift for all fans of this sport. However, the human being is incapable of mere enjoyment and we strive to look for factors that can determine who is the best in history.
Given the possible draw between the Big 3, should one consider only the number of Grand Slams to determine who is the best tennis player in history?
As passionate and unsolvable as the debate is, it should be approached from a prism of a certain rationality and statistical knowledge that can be a synthesis of everything that these sport myths have done, are doing and will do. It is evident that its magnitude and influence in tennis and society goes beyond titles and records, but everything quantifiable can be very relevant to establish what they have achieved and what remains to be achieved. That exercise is what we did with Novak Djokovic a few dates ago, and now we intend to do with Rafael Nadal, after the Balearic has turned 34 years old.
We analyze the statistical records that the Serbian leads, as well as those in which he needs to improve to be the best in history.
– Arguments to consider Rafael Nadal as the best tennis player in history
Youngest player to complete the Grand Slam. He did so after winning the US Open 2010, at just 24 years old.
He is the man who reaches the age of 34 with the most Grand Slam titles under his belt, 19.
The only tennis player in history, male or female, who has reached 12 titles in a Grand Slam tournament, with his historical dominance at Roland Garros.
He is one of two tennis players to have won all four Grand Slams and Olympic gold in singles and Davis Cup. The other is André Agassi.
Member of the Big3 that has won the most Davis Cup titles, participating in five editions that ended with Spain champion (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2019)
He has not left the top-10 since he entered on April 25, 2005, that is, 778 weeks, only behind Jimmy Connors’ 789.
The Spanish breaks a new record that testifies to his longevity and ability to overcome difficult moments. He has overtaken Federer.
He has won more than 30 games per season in 16 consecutive games, being the only active player to do so.
Champion of at least one title in each year since 2004, and two from 2005 to 2019. He is the leader in both statistics.
He is the historical leader in terms of Masters 1000 tournament winners, with 35, and who has won the most games in these events, presenting a record of 384-79.
Champion of 59 titles on clay, being the tennis player who leads this historical classification by putting himself ahead of Guillermo Vilas’ 49.
Leader in terms of titles won on the outdoor track, with 83, followed by Federer’s 77.
Player with the highest win-loss percentage. His record of 990-200, represents 83.19% of wins, the longest in history at the moment.
Longest winning streak on a surface in tennis history, with 81 consecutive wins on clay.
Most veteran tennis player to finish a season as number 1 in the world; He did it in 2019 with 33 years and 6 months.
He has won 171 times to members of the top-10, of which 20 of them have occurred over the number 1 in the world
– Great challenges ahead to be considered the GOAT
Become the tennis player with the most Grand Slam titles. He remains behind Roger Federer, just one title behind, in the statistical record that is given the most relevance to determine the best in history.
Win the ATP Finals. It is the only great title that resists him, having lost the two finals he played in 2010 and 2013.
Complete the track record with the Masters 1000 that he has not managed to win, such as Miami and Paris-Bercy. The one from Shanghai does not appear in his record, but he won the equivalent in Madrid 2005.
Equalize and / or surpass Pete Sampras as the player with the most seasons finished at number 1. Nadal has done it five times, like Roger and Novak, for the six of the American.
To be the first player in the Open Era to win, on more than one occasion, all Grand Slam tournaments. It should do it at the Australian Open, while Roger and Novak have the opportunity to do it at Roland Garros.
We reveal which are the tennis players, both male and female, who have won the four great titles on occasion.
Chaining four consecutive Grand Slam titles (either in the same season or in different ones), something that only Novak Djokovic has done in the Open Era between 2015 and 2016.
To be among the three players with the most titles in all of history. He is currently fourth, with his 83 trophies, and has Ivan Lendl with 94 ahead, as well as Federer and Connors.
Overcome Djokovic as the tennis player with the most “great titles”. The Serbian accumulates 56, while Nadal has 55 at the moment. These include Grand Slams, Masters 1000, ATP Finals, and the Olympics.
To become the player with the most matches won on outdoor courts; He is second, with 896, behind Federer, with 944.