As the talking heads continue to banter back and forth about who might be the greatest tennis player of all time (how can you not like it when John McEnroe takes on this topic), the reactions of the fans of the top contenders are often downright classic! If someone says that Djokovic is the most complete player in tennis history (I realize that is different from saying he is the greatest), you’re bound to hear a few “you can’t be serious” retorts to quickly follow. That is just the nature of this bountiful and energetic discussion/debate.
With all due respect to the uber venerables (Mr. Laver, Mr. Borg and Mr. Sampras), as I think about comparing and contrasting Federer, Nadal and Djokovic and their careers up to this point in order to discern who should be considered the greatest of the last 15 years (and just maybe…the greatest of all time), I would like to enter the fray by getting a bit mathematical. I decided to array ten criteria and weight each one in order to formulate how these three tennis superstars line up against each other. Now mind you, this is a work in progress and can easily be corrected and enhanced until we as a tennis community decide we have had enough ? So, here is what I have so far…
|1||Grand Slam Titles||18||15||12|
|2||Grand Slam Finals Winning Percentage||64.29||68.18||57.14|
|3||Grand Slam Match Winning Percentage||86.03||87.10||86.00|
|4||Grand Slam Semis Made Percentage||57.75||52.00||62.00|
|5||Career Match Winning Percentage||81.74||82.51||82.78|
|6||Weeks Ranked Number One||302||141||223|
|7||Winning Percentage Against Other Two||44.00||54.00||52.00|
|8||Masters One Thousand Titles||26||30||30|
|9||Olympic Gold Medals||0||1||0|
|10||Year End Championships||6||0||5|
So, there you have it! Federer comes out on top with Nadal a close second and Djokovic a close third. Now, of course, I assigned the weights as I believe them to be the most accurate assessors of greatness. Perhaps I’ll display them next time after I ponder things a bit more. Give this a look and let me know what you think! Until then, enjoy Wimbledon and hit the courts yourselves when it’s not too hot ?