Novak Djokovic the GOAT: A list of people who have declared Novak Djokovic the greatest of all time

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic 2023 US Open trophy
Novak Djokovic sits with the 2023 US Open trophy

The greatest player of all-time (GOAT) debate has divided the tennis community over the past few years, but many believe the race is now over and Novak Djokovic is the clear winner.

At first there were three players in the GOAT contest with many declaring Roger Federer as the clear winner, especially after he became the first man to 20 Grand Slams, but Rafael Nadal then overtook him when he moved to 22 majors on the back of winning a record-extending 14th French Open title.

However, Djokovic has surged past both his rivals in recent years and he sits alone at the top of list in terms of Grand Slams won by a man as he collected a 24th major when he lifted the 2023 US Open.

But it is not only the majors where Djokovic is dominating as he also holds the record for most weeks spent at No 1 in the ATP Rankings as it is currently 390 weeks and counting.

He has also won a record 39 ATP Masters 1000 titles and leads his head-to-head record against both Nadal (30-29) and Federer (27-23).

For some, no more discussions are needed as they believe Djokovic is the greatest tennis player of all time.

Quotes from Novak Djokovic’s peers, former players, commentators, analysts and more who have declared him the GOAT:

Let’s start off with Pete Sampars – the man who may well have been considered the GOAT were it not for Messrs Djokovic, Nadal and Federer as he held the Open Era Grand Slam record before the arrival of the Big Three.

Back in November 2021 when Djokovic, Nadal and Federer were all on 20 majors, Sampras already declared the Serbian the GOAT after he claimed a seventh year-end No 1 ranking.

“Seven years, for him, I’m sure he sees it as a bonus to all the majors that he’s won,” the American said. “But I think he’ll appreciate it more as he gets older. He did it at a time where he dominated two of the greats, in Roger and Rafa, and he handled the next generation of players very well – all at the same time.

“I do think what Novak’s done over the past 10 years, winning the majors, being consistent, finishing No 1 for seven years, to me it’s a clear sign that he is the greatest of all time.”

And more GOAT declarations:

Former world No 1 Andy Roddick in a Betway column

“It’s an impossibility to make a statistical argument against him being the best ever. It’s like proving gravity at this point. He’s now tied Margaret Court on 24 Slams but he wants all of the records, so he’ll want to get to 25.”

The American added: “It’s not even close to hyperbolic to say that he’s the best athlete on earth right now.”

2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic

“People they feel like they can relate with Rafa and Roger because they came [into tennis] first,” the Croatian, who  has been part of Djokovic’s coaching set-up since 2019, told Express Sport after Wimbledon 2023.

“But he does get great support. He is one of the best athletes, and I’m not just talking about tennis, but one of the best athletes in the world. He’s still going and what he did for tennis and for sport is amazing. I think people appreciate it, but I think they will appreciate more when he stops playing tennis.

“For me Novak is the greatest for me in everything, by results. Roger maybe played the most attractive tennis. But they all helped each other to become better players.

“First Roger, then Rafa and Novak came, the rivalry between these three guys was amazing. They made tennis a better sport and they all love tennis. But you have to choose somebody, some people prefer Roger or Nadal… for me, it’s Novak.”

Former world No 1 Pat Rafter

“To me, [with] 24 [Grand Slam singles titles], it’s pretty evident that he’s best player of all time. He’s got the record and he’s probably got the best win-loss record against all the players against each other as well, and against the other top players.”

Gael Monfils after suffering a record-breaking 19th defeat to Djokovic in Cincinnati

“It may not have been the match I was hoping for against the GOAT, but it’s still an honour and a pleasure to face @DjokerNole. Despite everything, it remains a positive week.”

2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli to Tennis Majors

“Success determines if you’re the greatest or not, and records determine if you’re the greatest or not. When you look at the numbers, because obviously you mentioned the three players involved in that discussion are Roger, Rafa and Novak, I know that Novak has the greatest record against the two of them.”

She added: “The debate is really about the success obviously on different surfaces with what Novak has been able to achieve once again, he’s the only player winning every single Grand Slam three times or more, then it’s about the record against the opposition, which is Roger and Rafa, and once again is the leader.

“Weeks at No 1 in the world? He’s the leader. Finishing the years as the No 1 player? He’s leading – he’s just leading every single stat.”

Former women’s doubles world No 1 Sania Mirza to The Week’s Neeru Bhatia

“I don’t know in which generation we will be able to see three of the best the world has ever produced.

“The debate will continue but I definitely think that, given the way Novak is playing physically, he has probably become the greatest ever male player if you look at the numbers. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal forced each other to become the best and they credit each other, and also Novak, for pushing them to their limits.”

Former British No 1 Tim Henman on Eurosport after the 2023 French Open

“He has ended the debate over who is the greatest male player of all time. He just loves and embraces the challenge. This is not his best surface, but he finds a way to win. He wants more and more.

“There is he celebrating his 23rd Grand Slam and he is already talking about coming back for more. He is the only male player to win the four Grand Slam titles at least three times and that is a remarkable record.

“I think he has been very open, honest and frank about these numbers and now he will look at Margaret Court’s total of 24 Grand Slams to be the best of all time for men and women.”

British player Liam Broady on talkSPORT Breakfast

“You can’t look past Djokovic, seven-time champion and it’s kind of fated at this point. People have been fighting against him being the GOAT of the sport for so long.

“It’s going to happen and what you fear most you bring into existence.. and that’s what Novak is going to be doing.”

Patrick McEnroe – former United States Davis Cup captain and former doubles world No 3

“It’s also what I see is his incredible ability to play his best when it matters most. He has lost in major finals. You know, he’s beaten them (his rivals) more than they beat him. To beat him, you got to be at your absolute best. He never plays a bad match in a big spot. Never.”

American player Reilly Opelka on Tennis Channel’s Inside In podcast

“People like criticising Novak. He has applied those concepts that he has in life like him having the courage to just take a stand, not play both sides of the coin like how his peers do and just face things head on is the reason why he is the undisputed greatest tennis player that has ever lived.”

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan in an interview with

“You have to admire Djokovic. He is the best player of all time and will win the most Grand Slams in the history of tennis.

“There are also Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the three of them are a sporting phenomenon.

“If we compare Novak and myself, we have different styles of play, I am more like Federer. Roger has self-confidence, but Novak is more of a mixture of styles and he has it all in him.”

Toni Nadal – Rafael Nadal’s former coach and uncle – sitting a bit on the fence, but also admitting that “you have to opt for Djokovic”

“Djokovic is a great champion and it will be very difficult to reach him, not only for my nephew, but for anyone,” he said in an interview with ElDesmarque.

He added: “It’s very difficult to determine who is the best in history… you have to opt for Djokovic because the titles support him.”

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Boris Becker

During a Q&A session on Instagram, tennis great Boris Becker was asked who is the GOAT but he went for “most successful player of all time” line.

“That’s the ultimate question: There is no GOAT… But the most successful player of all time (Novak).”

Tennis greats Serena Williams and Venus Williams’ former coach Rick Macci

“@DjokerNole is the GOAT because the numbers tell it all. 24 SLAMS 96 singles titles. But he is on Mt. Rushmore because when you play the Serbian Sniper he made you RUSH MORE!” Macci wrote on X.

American tennis player Chris Eubanks after the 2023 US Open

“You can make an argument that it’s Federer, because Federer changed the way that, you know, professional tennis players were viewed globally. He was a global icon. But in terms of just being a tennis player and titles, records, weeks at No. 1, prize, whatever you name it. He has the numbers.”