Coach Ivan Lendl says it’s a bit disappointing to see the debate over the greatest of all time affected by politics as he wants Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to have a “fair battle” for the GOAT title. Nadal, 36, owns a record 22 Grand Slams, while Djokovic is second with 21 Grand Slams.
Roger Federer, 40, is a 20-time Grand Slam champion and Lendl suggests it is unrealistic to expect the Swiss to win a Grand Slam again. Djokovic missed the Australian Open earlier this year and now he is likely to miss the US Open as well.
Djokovic has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and cannot enter the United States as an unvaccinated alien. “That story is not over yet,” Lendl told Nova TV, according to Eurosport. “It will be over when all three say goodbye.
At the moment, Roger seems to be out, because he hasn’t played for a long time and is the oldest. It is fascinating to watch and follow, not only for the people of the tennis world, but for everyone else, spectators, fans.
My only regret is that the fight is somewhat affected by politics at the moment due to the vaccination issue. I just hope that 20 years from now we don’t see it through that prism, that we’re not sure who’s the greatest because of politics.
If Novak wins the most Grand Slam number despite that, I think we’ll have an answer.”
Rafa Nadal will skip the Canadian Open
Along with playing in tournaments, Rafael Nadal also had to manage his studies. In his autobiography, ‘Rafa: My Story’, the former World Number 1 has described how he managed his studies along with playing tennis.
He said, “My mother put her energy and encouragement into the areas where I was less strong, such as my school studies. It was on this account that my parents, having shielded me from Barcelona, decided when I turned fifteen that I should do as my father, and Toni, had done and go to a boarding school in Palma”.
Further, he added, “Called the Balearic Sports School, it was tailored to my needs-regular school lessons but plenty of tennis built in-and it was only an hour’s drive from home. But I was miserable there. My parents-my mother in particular-were concerned that all this tennis was killing my studies.
My concern was that the studies were going to kill my tennis. They killed my chances of playing at the Wimbledon Junior Tournament and the one at Roland Garros, too”.