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Novak Djokovic was able to match Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam record with his Australian Open win last week, tying his long-time rival with 22 men’s singles titles each. It leaves the GOAT debate as tense as ever with fans hoping both men can do battle for the record at the French Open later this year. But one former pro doesn’t agree with the excitement, claiming that comparing the two doesn’t make sense. Alex Corretja backed Djokovic to win the most Majors but didn’t think it truly mattered.
Djokovic continued his quest to make tennis history at the Australian Open as he became the first player to win a 10th title in Melbourne and matched Nadal’s record of 22 overall Majors. The world No 1 has made it no secret that he would hope to end his career with the most Grand Slam titles in history, and one former pro has now backed Djokovic to do exactly that.
But former world No 2 Corretja also slammed the Grand Slam race altogether as he claimed that it didn’t make sense to compare Djokovic’s Majors with Nadal’s in the GOAT debate. “If we think with our heads, the feeling is that Djokovic has a little more margin,” the retired Spanish pro told Cadena SER.
“His injuries have been minor in recent years, while Nadal, due to his way of playing and giving his all in each game, has made him somewhat more touched. Everything indicates that Djokovic has more margin and can pass him.”
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Despite sounding certain in his claim, Corretja didn’t understand comparisons between Djokovic, Nadal and their now-retired Big Three rival Roger Federer. Downplaying the GOAT debate, he added: “I don’t think the comparison makes much sense, everyone has had their moment, as happened with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have had their way of being and it has transcended in one way or another.”
The 17-time title winner also admitted that he didn’t think anyone would manage to match Djokovic and Nadal’s record in men’s singles again, claiming that even the likes of Carlos Alcaraz wouldn’t have it in him to keep his level up for four hours of every Grand Slam match. “I think we won’t see anyone else win 22 Grand Slams,” Corretja said.
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“Tennis is a very patient sport and you have to be very methodical and very disciplined. Today our society is going towards the opposite, towards speed and immediacy. Finding someone who in the very modern era in which we live is so constant to maintain that regularity for so many months and for so many years is almost impossible.because society leads you to want everything now.”
Referencing the next generation of players, he continued: “When you see Alcaraz or Sinner, they are so regular and so serious that it’s not usual. Why don’t many tennis players just explode? Because they play well for an hour and a half or two hours, and in tennis you need four hours at the Grand Slams and that requires weeks and months of training beforehand . I see it as very difficult to maintain the dedication and level that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have had. Today’s tennis players will play at a high level for 5-8 years, but 20 years… I see it as impossible.”
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