In this blog, we’ll discuss the main aspects of what it means to be the G.O.A.T. — the greatest of all times — in (male) tennis.
So, what does it mean to be the GOAT?
Let’s try and make things as simple as possible.
Let’s start by saying what the GOAT is not.
The GOAT is not about some absolute measure or standard. There’s none. Pretending that there’s some perfect criterion only leads to fruitless and endless discussions. So, how can we make this debate plausible, possible for people to reach some agreement or, even, with some luck, consensus?
In my view, the way for the debate to make sense is to try and establish the main criteria upon which our claims will be made. What are those criteria? I propose we follow a simple analogy: an interview for a job. To hire someone, we look for the best credentials, the best characteristics and abilities to perform that job. Of course we hope to get the perfect candidate, the one whose resume is better than the others’ in every respect. Obviously, that’s rarely the case and we have to choose the best resume in the context, the one that has more pros than cons relative to his adversaries.
So what I propose is that we treat the GOAT debate as the debate over which tennis player’s got the best resume. After careful examination, we’ll “hire” the one whose abilities-versus-flaws outdo his adversaries.
And let’s add: the best resume in the history of tennis until this present moment. This is important to say because every year the conditions change and so the GOAT status.
Now why is that people cannot agree on who’s got the best resume in tennis?
Quite simply: because there’s no player with a flawless resume.
Federer has more Slams and weeks as #1, but has a terrible H2H against Nadal.
Sampras has more Year-End finishes, but never made a final in Roland Garros.
Nadal has a Golden Slam, but never won the prestigious Tour Finals and spent much less weeks as #1 than Federer, or Sampras, or Connors, or Lendl.
Djokovic is the only one to have won all the so-called Big Titles, but has far less Slams and weeks as #1 than Federer…
So what’s the real job here?
Try and get our priorities clearly stated.
— Which aspects of one’s resume shall be more important?
— Which flaws counts more or less against each player?
In other words: our main task here is to discuss and establish the main criteria after which we are going to assess each player’s resume.
Does it sound a good strategy?
I do hope so.
For those who also agree and are curious about it, please follow along!
– A quick comment: this is a live work, should any one have some suggestions or criticism, don’t hold it off: write to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than pleased to address your points, either accepting or giving them (what I judge to be) a good answer.