GOAT battle ‘close between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’, says Tommy Robredo

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

It is “very difficult” to predict who will end up as the greatest tennis player of all time (GOAT) as right now it is “close between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic”, according to Tommy Robredo.

For several years tennis fans, pundits, current players and former pros were unable to separate Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer in the GOAT debate.

However, Nadal edged ahead of his two rivals after winning the Australian Open and French Open in the first half of the year to move to 22 Grand Slams. Djokovic, though, won a seventh title at Wimbledon a fortnight ago to move to within one major of Nadal.

Robredo says although it is neck-and-neck between Nadal and Djokovic, it is quite complex to decide what criteria should be used to decide the GOAT.

“Right now, I would say it’s close between Rafa and Novak,” he told Sportskeeda. “It depends if we say Grand Slams are the most important or also consider how important the Davis Cup, weeks at No 1 and other factors are. It’s very difficult to say at the moment.”

Robredo was also asked to construct his perfect player and came up with the following:

Roger Federer
Forehand: Fernando Gonzalez
Backhand: Novak Djokovic
Volley: Tough one. Boris Becker, Tim Henman and Pat Rafter all had great volleys
Movement: David Ferrer
Mental toughness: Rafael Nadal

Asked who was toughest to play against, he Robredo replied: “Rafa, for the way he plays, with this speed of the ball, the spin of his forehand, for the difference due to him being left-handed and for the way that he runs after every ball as if it was the first.

“I don’t say the others are easy, but for me, Rafa had something that makes you suffer more inside the court than the rest.

“Everyone that saw Rafa during the first year [of his career on tour] could understand that he would go on to become a great player. But he went much higher and became one of the best sporting athletes in the world, if not the best… that was something that was not easy to realise, but he achieved it in a great way.”