‘The GOAT debate is now completely dead after Novak Djokovic’s 2023 season’

A happy Novak Djokovic

Patrick Mouratoglou has declared that the debate over who is the greatest male tennis player of all time is “completely dead” after what Novak Djokovic achieved in 2023.

The coach and analyst asserted he has never seen another player “on top of their game at 36” and lauded the Serbian’s dominance given he shared the same era as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Mouratoglou, who coaches at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France, has worked with several tennis stars, including Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Coco Gauff, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune.

Djokovic broke or extended a number of major tennis records in a historic 2023 season during which he won seven titles and posted a 56-7 (88.9%) record.

The 36-year-old won three of the four Grand Slam titles in a year for the fourth time in his career – after 2011, 2015 and 2021 – a record in men’s tennis. He was also a runner-up at Wimbledon, making this the third season following 2015 and 2021 when he reached all four Major finals and won three.

The Serbian’s victory at the 2023 US Open in September was a record-extending 24th men’s Grand Slam title, having surpassed Nadal’s tally of 22 with his French Open triumph.

Djokovic also secured a record-extending eighth finish as the ATP year-end No 1 en route to claiming a seventh ATP Finals title to surpass Federer for the most season-ending championships crowns.

READ MORE: The 18 players to finish as ATP year-end No 1 as Novak Djokovic extends his amazing record

In addition, the world No 1 won Masters 1000 events in Cincinnati and Paris as he took his record tally of ATP Masters 1000 crowns to 40, with Nadal second on 36.

Speaking in an episode of his Eye of the Coach series for Tennis Majors, Mouratoglou marvelled at Djokovic’s longevity and argued he has sealed his status as the GOAT beyond all doubt.

“I’ve never seen in the history of tennis someone who is on top of their game at 36, as much as they were at 26, 28. It’s a whole career of being at the top,” the 53-year-old Frenchman assessed.

“He had one or two difficult years, but most of his career he’s been at the top of his game, even though he played in the same era as Roger and Rafa, which says even more about how an incredible, dominant player he is.

“I think the famous debate about who is the GOAT, I guess, is completely dead now after this incredible year, three more Grand Slams, plus one final. He has the record almost everywhere of all – number of Masters 1000s, number of weeks No 1, number of Grand Slams – and he’s still playing, he’s still at the top.”

Djokovic finished 2,390 points clear of world No 2 Carlos Alcaraz with 11,245 points for the year, despite playing just 12 tournaments in 2023. The Serbian will look to add to his men’s record of 10 Australian Open titles at the Melbourne Grand Slam in January.

READ MORE: Renowned coach reveals key to Novak Djokovic handling pressure better than rivals

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