Novak Djokovic forces Rafael Nadal’s uncle to surrender despite Federer argument

Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni has surrendered to Novak Djokovic, naming the Serbian the “best tennis player in history” following his US Open victory. The world No 1 became the first player in the Open Era to lift a historic 24th Grand Slam title. But Toni has thrown in another argument, claiming that Roger Federer played at an even higher level than the Serb.

Djokovic broke another record on Sunday as he defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3 to win the US Open. The 36-year-old became the most decorated player in the Open Era at Grand Slam level, also tying Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Majors.

The Serb had been playing catch-up for the majority of his career, as Federer set a new men’s Grand Slam record when he exceeded Pete Sampras’ haul of 14 Slams and went on to win 20. Nadal then reached 22 last year and Djokovic surpassed him this season, also pulling ahead of Serena Williams’ tally of 23.

Now standing alone in the Open Era – and one more Major trophy away from surpassing the all-time record – Toni Nadal has conceded that Djokovic is the sport’s best player. “Djokovic is a great champion and it will be very difficult to reach him, not only for my nephew, but for anyone,” he told ElDesmarque.

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The GOAT debate has long been a heated talking point in men’s tennis with the Big Three taking the game to new heights. But the uncle and former coach of Nadal admitted that Djokovic’s numbers made it tough to make a case against the world No 1.

“It’s very difficult to determine who is the best in history…you have to opt for Djokovic because the titles support him,” he added. However, the 62-year-old also made an argument for Federer as he claimed the Swiss star played even better than the 24-time Major winner.

Toni added: “Although I think Federer has sometimes managed to play at an even higher level, I think in the world of sport if we go by the numbers, Djokovic is without a doubt the best.”

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Djokovic himself refused to weigh into the GOAT debate after his historic triumph in Flushing Meadows. “I leave that to you guys and all the others, whether I deserve to be a part of that debate,” the world No 1 said per Tennis Majors.

As well as his Grand Slam haul, Djokovic also has the most weeks at No 1 in tennis history. After returning to the top spot on Monday, he now has 390 weeks and counting.

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