Last updated: 01st Feb 2019
In this post, I’ll display a few tables dissecting the performance of our 10-player list in the main GOAT categories.
WEEKS AS #1 & TOP 2 – TOP 10
In this category, we see a complete domain of Federer, who leads in all subcategories: most weeks as #1, as top 2, 3, 5 and top 10.
Here, Sampras has the still unsurpassed mark of 6 finishes as #1, a record even more impressive considering that he did it 6 consecutive times! That consistent and unprecedented dominance over his peers can well be used to build his case as the GOAT.
#1 year-end finishes apart, Federer again emerges as the most decorated player of them all. If he finishes in the top 10 this year, he’ll break the tie with Agassi and Connors and will reign alone with 17 finishes in the top 10!
Nadal is obviously in a good position to challenge those top 2-top 10 records, but he’ll still need a few more years.
Federer’s numbers are still breathtaking, his leading in every possible category here. His consistency is what impresses most with 53 — fifty-three — quarter-finals, which is 10 more than Djokovic, who comes next.
TOUR FINALS (former Masters Cup)
Federer leads the field once again, with more titles, finals and semi-finals.
MASTER SERIES (or Masters 1000)
Finally a table where Federer doesn’t dominate. Here, he’s only third, with Nadal and Djokovic closely fighting to see who will end atop. Right now, Nadal leads in all categories, but Djokovic has an added honor that many see as propelling his case as the GOAT: he won all different 9 Master Series!
In its current format — since 1990 — Djokovic is the first and only one to have achieved that incredible feat. However, before 1990 there was also a series of 9 different tournaments which can be said equivalent of the current Masters 1000 or Master Series, and Lendl managed to win every one of the 9 different slots. In this sense, both Lendl and Djokovic should be considered as having achieved the feat.
BIG TITLES (GS + TF + MS)
In the Big Titles table, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have put considerable distance between them and the rest of the field, each of them surpassing the astonishing 50-titles mark!
Federer still leads in titles, finals and semi-finals, but he’s also 5/6 years older, so in this particular category, he is in”imminent danger” of being surpassed. With 9 Masters 1000 still to be played in 2019, Federer could see his lead disappear even before Wimbledon.
What sets Djokovic apart, though, is the fact that he is the only one to have won every single “big title”: the 4 different Grand Slams; the 9 different Master Series; and the Tour Finals !
For instance, Federer never won Rome nor Monte Carlo (he’s a four-time finalist in both of them), whereas Nadal never won Miami, nor Paris and, most regrettably, he never won the prestigious Tour Finals.
This is a HUGE statement of Djokovic’s versatility and all-round kind of game. This incredible and unparalleled achievement definitely can be used to make Djokovic’s case as the GOAT.
SNAPSHOT: TITLES & #1
In this big table, we see how Federer has a very strong case as the GOAT — as of now –, but we could envision Nadal and, perhaps even more dangerously, Djokovic closing the gap on him.
One interesting feature of this table is the “average ranking” in respective category. Federer is clearly the leader, no doubt about it, but it may surprise some to see that Nadal has only the 5th best average, with 4.4, coming behind Djokovic, Sampras, and Lendl! Of course, his being the only player not to have won a Tour Finals title gives him a 10th place in this particular category.
However, it’s not fair to Nadal that the Gold Medal or Davis Cup titles are not ranked. So let’s add this table:
With Gold counting as 1, no-Gold as 3 and “n/a” as 2, the new average ranking changes a little bit, with Federer still in first, followed by Djokovic, Nadal, and now Sampras tied with Lendl.
Now, Lendl’s fans would protest that it’s not fair to include Davis Cup titles here at this table — and I would agree –, but this is only an illustrative table that helps build a big picture of these legends.