Novak Djokovic getting to number 23 might cement him as the GOAT

(Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images) /

Novak Djokovic won his 23rd all-time Grand Slam by winning the French Open on Sunday. He might now be the unquestioned greatest of all time. There are several things that separate Djokovic from his legendary contemporaries, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and Djokovic’s contemporaries help separate Djokovic from the greats of the past.

There was a time in the mid-2000s that Federer was dominating most of the Grand Slam tournaments (and heck, let’s be honest; most of the other tournaments he played in). Federer was just a bit ahead of Nadal and Djokovic (Federer is four years old than Nadal and five older than Djokovic) so Federer’s competition was either not of the same ilk Nadal and Djokovic would be or Federer’s best competition had not yet matured yet.

The last Grand Slam Federer won was in 2018 and he no longer plays. Federer has 20 major titles which was the record for a short bit of time. He also won only one French Open so his career majors are mostly spread out over the other three tournaments. He did hold the number 1 ATP ranking for 310 weeks total, though, and that was a record for a bit too.

Little argument Novak Djokovic is the best ever after winning his latest Grand Slam

Nadal surpassed Federer in head-to-head matches, however, as the Spaniard led the series 24-16. Sure, Nadal dominated Federer on clay (14-2) but barely trails Federer on grass and hard courts. Nadal also has 22 Grand Slam titles, but he got 14 of those titles at the French Open. He won “only” twice at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. 63 of his career 92 singles titles have come on clay, so while Nadal is the best ever on that surface, that doesn’t make him the best ever overall.

Novak Djokovic, however, has a more versatile game than both Nadal and Federer. Plus, he has several other things in his favor that might place him as the better player over Nadal or Federer, or anyone who came before them. Also, Djokovic’s career winning percentage of 83.4 in all tournaments beats both Nadal and Federer.

Djokovic shattered Federer’s mark for weeks ranked number 1 a long time ago. Djokovic, who will move back into the number 1 ranking after winning the French, has been ranked at the top spot for an astounding 387 weeks. Forget the 23 Grand Slam titles for a second. That number of 387 weeks at number is even more unlikely to be broken.

Djokovic also has won three titles at all the majors. He has three US Open and French Open wins, seven wins at Wimbledon, and 10 at the Australian Open. Djokovic also leads head-to-head battles with Nadal (30-29) and Federer (27-23). If you want his record against some of the better young players, Djokovic leads Daniil Medvedev 9-5 and Stefanos Tsitsipas 11-2. Djokovic also leads Carlos Alcaraz 3-1 in the four matches they have played.

Next. Novak Djokovic wins the French Open. dark

There is also no reason to think Djokovic won’t win one or five more Grand Slam titles. He likely won’t hold the number 1 ranking too long as he simply plays fewer tournaments than players like Alcaraz now. But if 23 Grand Slams and 387-plus weeks at number one don’t sway you into thinking Djokovic is the best player ever, then likely nothing will.