The Canadian says that there's still a lot of tennis to be played, so don't cast your GOAT vote just yet.
By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday October 17, 2020
Milos Raonic has weighed in on the GOAT debate, and given his thoughts on the incredible achievement of Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.
The Canadian, speaking after his quarterfinal win over Karen Khachanov on Friday in St. Petersburg, says that, first of all, we have to step back and praise Nadal’s incredible body of work in Paris.
"Incredible what Rafa has done to win the tournament 13 times, I believe in 16 years that he has played at it,” Raonic said. “He has only lost two matches, one year he was not able to complete the tournament. Before these three guys started the Grand Slam record was 14—he has a good chance to win 14 at one event, so who would have thought that was possible?"
The GOAT debate is open-ended
Raonic says that the GOAT debate is wide open when it comes to men’s tennis, but he adds that there will be no way to tell while the Big Three are still active.
The GOAT debate has become a hot topic ever since Nadal clinched his 13th Roland Garros title in Paris to draw even with Roger Federer at 20 Grand Slam titles.
Nadal and Federer each lead Djokovic, who has 17 major titles, by three. Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22) are the all-time leaders in Grand Slam singles titles.
"In the long term debate I think it's hard to debate it now because there are a lot of open-ended things,” he said. “You have Rafa that's going to be around we hope, to play more tennis. You have Roger that's going to be coming back next year to play more tennis. You have Novak that maybe has age on his side and has been definitely the healthiest of them, especially over the last few years."
Djokovic himself warned that it would be a mistake to count any of the Big Three out after he fell to Nadal in Paris on Sunday.
“Myself and Nadal, and especially Federer, we have been written off many times, people were sending us into retirement, but we keep coming back and proving that we are the best in the world despite all the pressure," he said.
Raonic says that it’s important to pay attention to more than Grand Slam titles.
"It's not only about Grand Slams,” he said. “Weeks at No.1 matters, head-to-head results against each other, those matter. How many times you win each Grand Slam, those matter, any Masters series you win, there's a lot you know. So there's always going to be an argument about who is the greatest of all-time and I think we are very lucky to be able to have that argument all in the same generation where you can compare the guys, all rather than comparing some players from now to players from twenty years ago, to players from 40 years ago."