*The road to GOAT: Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic in grand slams*
The recent win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Roland Garros has put Novak Djokovic only one grand slam behind his close rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Currently, the world number one has 19 grand slams whereas Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are sitting on 20 grand slams apiece. Here is why all three have different game styles and dominates different courts in terms of their playing style.
*Novak Djokovic: Hardcourt specialist*
Novak Djokovic defeated the reigning champion and 13-time French Open winner Nadal in the semifinal, squaring off last year’s defeat in the French Open final. In the final, the Serbian was two sets down and from there Novak won 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, the 19th grand slam of his career. The Serbian is now the only male player to have won each of the four Grand Slams at least twice.
Novak has 19 grand slams – Australian Open (9), Wimbledon (5), U.S. Open (3), and French Open (2). Novak Djokovic holds the all-time Australian Open record with 9 titles which is why he is a specialist in the hard court, in contrast, Roger Federer has six AO and Rafael Nadal has only one.
*Rafael Nadal: The King of Clay*
Nadal has complete dominance when it comes to the clay court, he holds the record for the most Roland Garros (French Open) titles (13). Apart from this, he has one Australian Open title, two Wimbledon titles, and four U.S. Open titles.
Clay Court is a type of tennis-court surface that includes a thin top layer of red brick dust (clay) on a bed of limestone, which is on a layer of crushed stones, which keeps the whole court drainable.
Rafael started his unprecedented run in 2005 when he won the French Open for the very first time. From there he dominated for four straight years till 2008, winning all four titles in four years. He lost in 2009 but regained his title in 2010 and retained it till 2014, five straight titles. After losing in 2015 and 2016, Rafael retained the Rolland Garros title from 2017 to 2020.
*Roger Federer: Green Grass supremacy*
Wimbledon is played on a green grass court, where the Swiss have clear domination in the past. Roger Federer has won a total of 20 grand slams of which eight are Wimbledon titles. Federer has the most Wimbledon titles among the three and overall.
*Big Three Dominance*
Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal have dominated the tennis world since 2004. The trio has won 77 grand slams out of 93 since 2004. This means only 16 grand slams have been won by other players.