Djokovic’s father weighs in on tennis GOAT debate: Djokovic “is in the category of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan”
Monday, in the columns of the Croatian media Sportske Novosti, Srdjan Djokovic says his son is indeed the GOAT of tennis. Now it is a question, according to him, of knowing where to place him in the hierarchy of world sport.
Srdjan Djokovic is certainly his son’s biggest fan. Today the loyal father of Novak Djokovic was also his lead advocate in the GOAT debate. Srdjan Djokovic spoke on Monday in an interview with Croatian media Sportske Novosti, and said that for him it’s simple, the debate is already settled, even if his son remains behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in terms of Grand Slam singles titles won (18, against 20 for the Swiss and the Spanish).
“He is already the best in history, according to the number of weeks spent at No 1, the head-to-heads, the titles in Masters 1000,” he said. “He only lacks an Olympic gold medal and these two titles of the Grand Slam that he will win this year. He’s the best and everything depends on him. He can lose, but not because his opponent would have played better than him, but because he would have allowed his opponent to to beat him.”
Djokovic broke Federer’s record for weeks at the top of the ATP ranking on March 8 (the Serbian started his 313rd week at the top of the world men’s tennis hierarchy on Monday). He leads 29-27 in his head-to-head with Nadal, and 27-23 against Federer. Djokovic is also the record holder for Masters 1000 titles (36, against 35 for Nadal and 28 for Federer) and is the only player in history to have won all tournaments in this category at least once.
Ivanisevic crucial in Djokovic’s progress in service
For Srdjan Djokovic, it is no longer a question of where to classify Djokovic in the history of tennis. But in the history of world sport.
“He’s not going to quit tennis right away, his career will last another year and a half, two years, three at the most, as long as he has mastered all the parameters,” he said. “He is still the best tennis player in the world and the one of the greatest sportsmen in history. An English journalist said last week that, although they are tough opponents, his rivals are no longer Federer and Nadal, but he has to be compared to Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.”
In addition, Srdjan Djokovic paid tribute to Goran Ivanisevic, former winner of Wimbledon who joined the staff of Novak Djokovic in the summer of 2019. Specifically, he praised the work Ivanisevic did to help Djokovic improve his serve. An aspect of the game which has helped the world No 1 keep his grip on the top ranking in recent years.
“Novak is fantastic in every way and he is aware of his shortcomings. He has enormous qualities, but he also has shortcomings, which he has tried to correct throughout his career,” Srdjan said. “Alone, and with the help of experts and former players, like Ivanisevic, it’s totally true that he improved his serve. And he increased his accuracy, his percentage, his power. He no longer throws the ball so high. Cilic was throwing the ball too high, and Novak was also having issues, he was twisting like Cilic and Ivanisevic fixed that. It’s fantastic. Their collaboration led to this fantastic title in Australia. “