Tennis

Djokovic: I'm the best, but will let others decide if I'm the G.O.A.T.

After his record-equalling 20th Grand Slam, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said he believes he is the best player in the modern era, but would let others judge if he is Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.).

"I consider myself best and I believe that I am the best, otherwise I wouldn't be talking confidently about winning slams and making history," said the Serb, after beating Matteo Berrettini over four sets for his sixth Wimbledon crown on Sunday.

"But whether I'm the greatest of all time or not, I leave that debate to other people. I said before that it's very difficult to compare the eras of tennis.

"We have different rackets, technology, balls, courts. It's just completely different conditions that we're playing in, so it's very hard to compare tennis from 50 years ago to today."

The 34-year-old has time on his side after going level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Majors.

Incredibly, when Federer secured his 20th at the 2018 Australian Open, Djokovic was still way back on 12.

"He's amazing. He's like in the movies. You have to kill the guy 27 times and still he gets up and you have to kill him again and he gets up," said Goran Ivanisevic, one of the Serb's coaches.

"The guy is unbeatable at the moment. For me, Novak is the best ever. He's writing history."

Djokovic's ability to play his best tennis under pressure can help him win at least five more Grand Slam titles, said seven-time Major winner John McEnroe.

The American told the BBC the Serb was "playing better than he's ever played".

"I think he'll probably win at least four or five more ... depending on staying healthy," added McEnroe.

"He's put himself so far out in front of everyone in terms of his ability to embrace what he's doing - in terms of creating history - and being able to execute under a lot of stress."

Ivanisevic said the debate over the G.O.A.T. could be settled if the Serb wins the US Open and completes the calendar Grand Slam.

A fourth career title there will make him only the third man in history to complete a calendar Grand Slam of all four Majors after Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.

"He's the only guy who can win four in a row in the same year," Ivanisevic said. "If he wins the US Open, it (the G.O.A.T. debate) is over." - REUTERS

Tennis