Tennis legend John McEnroe has given his verdict on who he thinks is the greatest of all time between Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with the latter reaching the Australian Open final earlier on Friday morning.
Nadal will move clear of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer atop the all-time rankings if he secures a 21st career Grand Slam at Melbourne Park. The Spaniard has impressed throughout the tournament, dropping just three sets en route to a final berth.
He is chasing a second title Down Under after winning the Australian Open back in 2009 – and Nadal reached the final following a four-set triumph over Matteo Berrettini. Nadal saw off the 25-year-old in a fairly straightforward contest, triumphing 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.
If Nadal wins at Melbourne Park, it would be the sixth Grand Slam title won on hard surface after 13 of the Spaniard’s 20 major titles have come on clay at Roland Garros.
Meanwhile, Federer has triumphed on the grass at Wimbledon more than his two rivals with eight SW19 championships and Djokovic has enjoyed fairly even success across grass and hard.
And now McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, has weighed in on the GOAT debate – insisting the head-to-head record between the trio should play a part, with world number one Djokovic holding an advantage.
However, the American would like them all to finish their careers on the same amount of Grand Slam titles to ensure no one is snubbed when it comes to the GOAT debate.
“It depends on the day, who are you talking to, what surface,” McEnroe told Eurosport .
“To me Rafa is the greatest clay court player, I think Novak is the greatest hard court, and I would call Roger overall the greatest grass court player. But then Novak has beaten him three times at Wimbledon I believe.
“Novak also has a winning record against those two. He is slightly ahead of those two but in a weird way I hope they all end up on the same number so we can have this discussion for the next 10 years and it will just be a matter of opinion and no one would be wrong.”
The Australian Open provides a terrific opportunity for Nadal to assume top spot in Majors, particularly after world No 1 Djokovic was dramatically deported from the country. Despite a last-gasp appeal to play, Australian authorities controversially opted to revoke his visa.
Federer is still recovering from a chronic knee injury that has plagued him for the last few years, and he is expected to remain out of action for a few more months at least.
Nadal, who will face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday, is reportedly not thinking about the history he could claim this weekend, according to Carlos Moya. His coach insisted there has been little discourse about the prospect of setting the all-time record.
“We don't talk about it but obviously we dream about it and will be talking about it on Sunday hopefully," Moya told reporters. “There have been many things to talk about these past few weeks as you know, but we don't talk about 21.
“We know it's there, there's pressure too but we avoid putting too much importance on it. Rafa has said plenty of times his happiness does not depend on it.
“So, if it happens, we will talk about it on Sunday but for now, the focus is on this week, to recover and on Friday's match.”
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