Ljubicic : “If Novak wins a few more Slams, GOAT debate becomes meaningless”

Ivan Ljubicic spoke on the GOAT debate saying that it will always be “subjective”

Ivan Ljubicic - Montpellier 2023 Ivan Ljubicic – Montpellier 2023 © JB Autissier / Panoramic

Ivan Ljubicic, the former world No 3 and the former coach of Roger Federer, feels that it’s hard to determine the greatest tennis player of all time, but that Djokovic is now the most successful in history.

Ljubicic, who coached Federer from 2016 until the Swiss’s retirement, told Sport Klub the two keep in touch on a daily basis.

“Roger travels more now compared to when he was playing, but we make an effort to see each other a few times a year. His life is definitely not boring. Actually, we watched one part of the Djokovic – Alcaraz match together, but we were mostly on the beach, you’re going to have to forgive us,” said Ljubicic jokingly.

Ivan Ljubicic and Roger Federer, Paris, 2018
Ivan Ljubicic and Roger Federer, Paris, 2018 | © JB Autissier / Panoramic

Asked who was Federer supporting in that match, Ljubicic answered: “We were not supporting anyone, we just enjoyed the exceptional level of tennis. It’s impressive what Novak is doing, just like Roger said the other day. We can watch from the side and admire him, but Roger has been there and knows what it takes.”

“I just hope that Alcaraz’s body holds up”

Ljubicic went on to praise Carlos Alcaraz by saying that the 20-year-old Spaniard is a breath of fresh air on the Tour.

“In that match against Novak, he wasn’t as creative and fluid as he usually is, but he brought another dimension to tennis, a dimension young players lacked in the last 10-20 years. He is positive and he is something we haven’t seen so far – some sort of ‘sick’ combination of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. I just hope that his body holds up, because he is putting crazy demands on his body at this moment.”

“Everybody has a preferred GOAT”

Finally, Ljubicic was asked to weigh in on the GOAT debate following Djokovic’s record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at the French Open.

“I feel that Novak is the most successful already, but the word ‘greatest’ implies subjectivity and personal preference. I think that’s good, to be honest – everybody has a preferred GOAT and let the discussion begin.

“If we look at other sports, for example is there a (definitive) GOAT in football? In basketball everybody agrees that it’s Michael Jordan, but he’s not the one with the most trophies. It’s someone that most influenced you personally: for a third of the world it’s Federer, for the other third of the world it’s Nadal and for the final third it’s Novak.

“If Novak wins a few more Slams – which seems likely at this point – then the debate becomes meaningless. If Novak ends up having five to ten more than the others, we won’t have conversations like this any more.”

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2 responses to “Ljubicic : “If Novak wins a few more Slams, GOAT debate becomes meaningless”

  1. LJUBICIC WOULD BE OF BETTER SERVICE TO TENNIS IF HE SHOWED SOME INSIGHT INTO THE DJOKOVIC CAREER. How is it that it was only after 22010-2011 that Djokovic won consistently and had that lasting quality, and not before. This co-incided with the discovery of Ciliac disease, or gluten intolerance. There was nore than just a diet….because Djokovic began to be unbeatable in long matches even. This was not the way he played before and it was a marked chnnge that allowed him to amass more titles. So the treatment of his illness brought tennis invinciility? This is not so much odd as a window into career performance. Full on after gluten issue and full on victories thereafter. Explain that, please, rather than the story making and mythcreating that assumed ludicrous proportions.

  2. Ljubicic is helping to build the Balkan hero’s mythology. But does everyone believe that it wasn’t during his prime years that Djokovic played best but after his prime years, when he had been diagnosed with Celiac disease of one form or another. The treatment for Celiac must have really helped because suddenly Djokovic became nigh unbeatable, something that was not standard practice or outcome before. It is the newfound stamina that other people might be interested in too, when wanting to boost strength and energy. That’s what we should find out.

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