Novak Djokovic has been backed in the debate over the greatest tennis player of all time after a former opponent said the Serbian was the closest he’s seen to ‘perfection’. In September, Roger Federer bowed out of the sport in emotional scenes at the Laver Cup, with many pundits and fans dubbing him the best to have ever picked up a racquet.
However, in 2022 the Swiss maestro’s previous record total of 20 Grand Slam titles has been surpassed by both Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. It was the Spaniard who won the first two major titles on the year, capturing the Australian and French Open before injury at Wimbledon scuppered his hopes of a calendar Slam.
That moved him clear on 22, with Djokovic notching his 21st at SW19. However, having already missed the tournament down under over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid, the 35-year-old also missed out on the season-ending US Open for the same reason.
He is also closing in on Federer’s total of 103 career titles, having won 90 himself with years left ahead of him still. And now Slovenian player Aljaz Bedene, who last year reached the third round at Wimbledon, has backed Djokovic to surpass all records before he retires.
“If we analyse the results and the statistics, the GOAT is without a doubt Novak Djokovic,” he told Sport Klub. “I am convinced that the Serb will end up with the most Slams once all three have retired. He will also hold the Masters 1000 record and could break Jimmy Connors’ record for titles.
Bedene also brought Nadal into the debate, with the 33-year-old having taken on all three of the iconic players during his professional career: “I have faced all three many times and Djokovic is the closest to perfection,” he added.
Bedene recently ended his own career during the Davis Cup, having reached a career high ranking of 43 in 2018. And despite his strong views, he has previously suggested Federer has had the greatest influence in tennis.
“Roger Federer had the greatest influence that is remembered in the world of tennis. If we talk about the best in terms of results, it will definitely be Novak Djokovic.”