First of all, before some people get their knickers in a twist because I often talk about the GOAT, let me make it clear that I always said I don’t really believe in a GOAT but that I liked the debate and speculation.
Now I’m not even sure about that part anymore. Why? Because it has become clearer than ever to me that the GOAT argument is used as a phony marketing tool and that there are far too many variables to determine a GOAT, some of which I will look at in this post. Other variables have also become apparent to me at this Wimbledon like the biased scheduling and the influence of the media which is considerable.
But let’s start with the following:
Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge(source)
I’ve posted tables before which showed that Djokovic gets the toughest draws and face the stiffest competition and the above confirms this fact. It also shows that Federer had the weakest competition of the big four throughout his career.
So not surprisingly, Federer has won the most slams. Some of the most striking facts are that Djokovic won only one of his slams without facing a big 4 member in the final while Federer won 12 slams without facing a big 4 member in the final. Federer has also won 11 slams without facing any big 4 member at all while Djokovic had to beat at least one big 4 member in all the slams he won.
Again, before Fedfans get their knickers in a twist, I am not posting these facts to prove that Djokovic is better than Federer. You can only beat who is in front of you. The reason I am posting this is to show some of the many reasons why a GOAT can never be determined.
As you can see, the number of grand slams won is almost directly proportional to the stiffness of competition faced. How can you possibly say Federer is the GOAT when his slam titles almost dried up when Nadal and Djokovic came of age? Clearly, Nadal and Djokovic had far tougher competition than Federer had.
As the clay court GOAT, Nadal always had clay to rely on as his safe haven on tour where he could make his head-to-heads look impressive and improve his stats like the average ranking of opponent beaten in slam finals. Djokovic didn’t have that luxury which makes his achievements even more impressive.
Again, the idea is not to make it seem like one player’s achievements are greater than the other. The point is that if you take everything into account there is nothing to choose between the big three and you cannot with any certainty claim that one is the GOAT. Each player has their strengths and weaknesses.
Federer is the talented one who currently has the most slam titles. Nadal is the great fighter and clay court GOAT. Djokovic is the most complete if you include the mental aspect and has the highest peak level. They are all incredible players and it is unlikely that any of them will ever be officially crowned the GOAT.
How do you make such a determination with all the variables involved and who has the authority to make it? I hear even some of the all-time greats often call someone a GOAT, mostly Federer. These people work as commentators and calling someone the GOAT sounds sensational and promotes the sport.
But they have no real evidence to back up their claims. There are many more variables than what I touched on in this post. For instance the biased scheduling we saw at Wimbledon but far more importantly the influence of the mainstream media. By always promoting Federer as the embodiment of all that is good and noble and victimizing Djokovic as the villain they influence the way Federer and Djokovic are perceived and treated as a result.
The media has enormous power and in politics, the powerful use it for instance to win elections and to make people vote against their own interests. It is the ultimate brainwashing tool and very easy to fall for if you are not inclined to think for yourself and hold a certain skepticism for everything you hear in the mainstream media.
Anyway, the media is just one other factor that I wanted to include because it is part of a rigged system whether in sport, politics, or whatever the case may be. I never talked about it before but I saw how enormously influential it is in American politics and thought it is an underrated and overlooked influence in tennis.
But I will leave it at that. There are many more reasons that a GOAT can’t be determined but I think these should suffice. The opposition these guys faced to win their slams are enough to prove that a GOAT can’t be determined.
Let me know what you think.