Tommy Robredo, a former world No. 5, has given his views on the men’s GOAT debate and said it was “close between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic”.
The Spaniard said that, from his experience, playing against Nadal was the toughest because he “had something that makes you suffer more” than the other star players.
For Robredo, it is not yet clear who the greatest men’s player of all time is, but he did at least narrow it down to Nadal and Djokovic with the pair having 22 and 21 Grand Slam singles titles to their names respectively.
“Right now, I would say it’s close between Rafa and Novak,” Robredo 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.”
Asked who he felt was the toughest to play against, he said: “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.”
Robredo also gave his views on another of his Spanish compatriots, Carlos Alcaraz, and said he “can be someone who dominates the sport for many years” on the week that the 19-year-old broke into the world’s top five.
“Carlos is a great player, talented, with a great team, and with huge expectations,” he said.
“Time will tell, but obviously, if everything goes well, he can be someone who dominates the sport for many years.
“But there are a lot of things that are not 100 per cent certain such as health, other great players in the same generation, and how he will manage and cope with the pressure. But I do think he has what it takes to be one of the best.”