A public poll conducted by Eurosport has named Novak Djokovic the greatest men’s champion in the Open Era, following a series of surveys conducted by the television network, which asked their viewers to vote between two named players in a knock-out format.
I am grateful and honoured that almost a million people participated in the survey, and that people look at me that way. On the other hand, I could not say anything more than that, it is a debate that has been going on for some time, especially between Federer, Nadal and me. Novak Djokovic
In Djokovic’s quarter he received more votes than both Rod Laver and Rafael Nadal.
Then, in the final, Djokovic took ‘the lion’s share’ of votes when going head-to-head with Roger Federer.
Eurosport said a total of 900,289 votes were cast and Djokovic’s one-sided triumph over the Swiss in the final round equated to ‘6-0, 6-1’ in tennis terms, but the network has not provided a full breakdown of votes cast for every round.
Compared with his Big Three rivals, Djokovic still trails them in terms of Grand Slam and ATP titles won so far in their careers, but he is the youngest of the trio, and is the only member to have a winning head-to-head record against the other two.
He leads Nadal 29-26 and Federer 27-23.
During a recent interview with Ubitennis.net, Pat Cash said he believes Djokovic is the best player out of the three based on his winning record.
“Who is the best player of the lot? It’s Djokovic. It’s clear. This guy is a freak. They had a big head start and he has caught up with them. It’s just hard to go past the reality of head-to-head wins,” Cash said.
“I know everybody says Federer is the greatest player of all time, but he’s not even the second greatest in his own era.
“That’s hard to believe. If you are the best of all time, you should at least have a head-to-head record against your number one rival or number two rival.
“Surely, that would be the very first factor, I would say.”
Djokovic started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row before the Tour was suspended.
He has already won titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships, and has earned more than $4 million in prize money for those results alone.
The poll breakdown
- Nadal def McEnroe
- Federer def Becker
- Djokovic def Laver
- Sampras def Borg
- Federer def Sampras
- Djokovic def Nadal
- Djokovic def Federer
“I am grateful and honoured that almost a million people participated in the survey, and that people look at me that way,” Djokovic told Sport Klub. “On the other hand, I could not say anything more than that, it is a debate that has been going on for some time, especially between Federer, Nadal and me.
“That will probably continue in the coming decades, until an even better tennis player comes along.
“It’s a natural flow in sports and it’s good for tennis.
“The three of us who have won the biggest number of Grand Slams of all tennis players ever and have spent the most weeks as World No 1 on the ranking list – these are historical things and facts that satisfy and motivate me.”
Djokovic, aged 33, is aiming to become the player with the most weeks spent as World No 1 and currently lies third on the all time list, with 38-year old Federer holding the record and Sampras in second place.
“I want to overtake both Sampras and Federer, I said that before, that is one of my biggest goals on that historical ranking list, to try to win as many Grand Slams as possible,” Djokovic said.
“I know that is the case with Nadal and Federer, who still play in top form.
“It will be interesting, all this attracts positive attention to our sport and it is a useful thing for the entire ecosystem because it motivates young people and children to take the racket in their hands and start playing tennis.”
Novak Djokovic returned to the top spot earlier this year after he beat Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open final to claim a record eighth title at Melbourne Park.