Andy Roddick puts GOAT debate to rest with ‘insane’ Novak Djokovic claim

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic 2023 ATP year-end No 1
Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the year-end ATP No 1 trophy

Former world No 1 Andy Roddick has weighed in on the tennis GOAT debate and claimed not choosing Novak Djokovic’s resume over that of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is “insane.”

The 2003 US Open champion declared that making an argument against Djokovic’s numbers equates to being “wilfully ignorant at this point” as he described the Serbian as a “surgeon.”

Djokovic has won a men’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, while Nadal and Federer sit second and third on the all-time list with 22 and 20 respectively.

The 36-year-old also holds the record for most weeks at No 1, ATP year-end No 1 finishes, Masters 1000 titles, ATP Finals titles, while he also has a winning record against his two greatest rivals.

Djokovic and Nadal have faced off a men’s Open Era record of 59 times — between 2006 to 2022 — with the former holding a 30-29 edge, while the Serbian won 27 of the 50 matches he contested against Federer from 2006 and 2020.

READ MORE: Andy Roddick gives his honest verdict on public perception of Novak Djokovic

Speaking on an episode of his Served podcast, Roddick asserted that the numbers in Djokovic’s favour leave no doubt that his career stands alone in tennis history.

“What’s making this GOAT thing so weird is that we never really get anything that’s like final. The [Michael] Jordan/LeBron [James] debate is like, ‘Ok LeBron has less, but he played this’,” the American said.

“There are other factors involved where it’s like, this conversation is largely like math doesn’t care about your feelings. It doesn’t care about your vaccination status.

“If you line up these three resumes (Djokovic, Nadal and Federer), and if you choose any of them but this one (Novak), you’re an insane human. Very simply, that’s the way it is.

“Everything else is about preference of what you like to watch. You like the ballet/artistry, you like the blunt force trauma of Rafa. I’ve always said what Novak does so well doesn’t immediately jump off the screen to an untrained tennis eye.

“What Roger does very well is very obvious. It’s amazing if you know tennis as well as I do and it’s amazing if it’s the first tennis match you’ve ever watched.

“Rafa, the physicality with which he can play, the RPMs, his speed, the drama of when he’s running something down, even the drama of his grunts, it all makes sense where you know he’s this gladiatorial figure.

“Whereas Novak, he’s a surgeon. He’s literally picking you apart. You have to make these huge risk trade-offs to make an impact on him. He knows it and you know it that you probably won’t be able to do it over the course of three or four hours.

“Most of us, large scale debates, aren’t great at nuance. We like the simple headline. And Novak’s game frankly doesn’t provide that simple headline often enough. But if you can make an argument against his numbers, you’re being wilfully ignorant at this point.”

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