John McEnroe says GOAT debate will come down to who wins most Slams and not ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

John McEnroe believes discussions over Novak Djokovic missing out on possible Grand Slam titles due to his unvaccinated status will be immaterial 20 years down the line when it comes to the debate over the greatest tennis player of all time (GOAT).

The Big Three of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been considered the greatest of their generation and the debate over who of the three will go down as THE greatest is one of the hottest topics in tennis.

Many believe the player who ends up with the most Grand Slams will take the GOAT crown and Nadal currently leads the way with 22 majors after winning the Australian Open and French Open. Djokovic is one behind after successfully defending his Wimbledon crown while Federer is another trophy adrift.

However, some believe there should be an asterisk next to this year’s Australian Open tournament and the current US Open as Djokovic was unable to compete at either event as he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Seven-time Grand Slam winner and Eurosport commentator McEnroe thinks it will be irrelevant in a couple decades.

“It doesn’t matter in 20 years, they’re going to ask who’s won the most? It’s not ‘well Djokovic wasn’t vaccinated so he couldn’t play’,” the former world No 1 told Eurosport.

Analyst Barbara Schett retorted: “But he could have won these two he couldn’t play.”

Ivan Lendl says it would be ‘unfair’ if Novak Djokovic misses out on GOAT crown due to ‘politics’

Only for McEnroe to reply: “Yeah but so could Rafa. He hasn’t played [the US Open] for three years because he’s been injured and he didn’t defend his Wimbledon title a couple of times. And you can go down the list.

“Roger [Federer] could have won this had he been healthy. We [McEnroe and Kim Clijsters] could have been contenders and won more! Woulda, coulda, shoulda. In his wildest dreams Djokovic didn’t think ‘I’m going to get thrown out of Australia, Rafa having not played for six months, is going to win it.’ The French Open we can understand.

“Rafa’s going to be No 1 in the world at the end of the year whether he wins this or not.”

Nadal is expected to return to the top of the ATP Rankings after the US Open as Daniil Medvedev needs to successfully defend his title to stand any chance of staying top. Nadal, though, doesn’t have any points to defend at Flushing Meadows and the remainder of the 2022 season and could usurp the Russian to become year-end No 1 for the first time since 2020.