Carlos Alcaraz’s coach explains why Novak Djokovic is better than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Kevin Palmer
Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic discuss tactics
Big Three of Roger Federer Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic during a match

The debate over who will end this golden era of men’s tennis with the most titles appears to be over, with Novak Djokovic’s relentless winning form ensuring he will finish ahead of his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Some would argue that statistics alone cannot end the GOAT debate, with Federer’s enduring popularity and his success in taking the game to a new level earning him support in the discussion over who is the greatest.

Meanwhile, Nadal’s 14 wins at the French Open is one of the greatest achievements in sport, with the Spaniard still threatening to return to action after a year on the sidelines with injury.

Now former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, who is now working as coach to world No 2 Carlos Alcaraz, has opened up on why Djokovic has cemented his legacy as the greatest player of them all, as he echoed the views of Nadal by suggesting his desire to re-write the history books was a factor in the longevity of his success.

“With Djokovic’s numbers there is no debate,” Ferrero told Marca as he was asked about the GOAT debate.

“You may like Rafa more, you may like Federer’s style more, but in terms of numbers, the best in history is Novak.

“I’m not surprised. He is a player who lives for and to play tennis and achieve results at the highest level.

“Everything he does is to be physically perfect, from food, to rest.

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“To be very good at something you have to excel a lot in certain things. Those who really want to become very, very good have to be there for (a long time).

“It is very difficult, today, to want to have a life parallel to training and professionalism, and to dedicate just enough to tennis.

“It has to be the other way around. Djokovic, in that, is the best.”

Ferrero also gave his verdict on Nadal’s imminent comeback, with the 22-time Grand Slam champion set to return to the court in 2024.

Nadal has also moved to dampen down expectations by suggesting he is back in tennis to ‘have some fun’, but Ferrero suggests he will want more when the competitive juices start to flow.

“He will surely return wanting to compete because he has a competitive animal inside him,” added Ferrero.

“I see it as logical that he does not see himself competing with Djokovic or against the best right now because he has been out of competition for a long time and it is always difficult to get started.

“Once he is on the track, his mentality of competing at his best will not change. In the Australian Open that he won (in 2022), it was thought that he had less chances and he won both tournaments.

“Those who are very, very good always come up with something different from the others and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at the highest level again. How long?

“Whatever it takes for him physically, but I don’t think he’ll be satisfied with winning two games.”

Nadal has confirmed he is ready to return to action in 2024 and that his team will make an announcement on his comeback event imminently.