Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer GOAT verdict given as fans told to ‘open their eyes’
Aljaz Bedene had his say on the legacy Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic would leave behind.
Aljaz Bedene has had his say on the GOAT battle between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after hanging up his racket. The former world No 43 faced all the members of the Big Three during his career and told fans that they needed to “open their eyes” when considering who would retire with all the records.
Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been at the centre of the GOAT debate in men’s tennis for more than a decade, with different arguments used to back each player as the undisputed greatest. But one pro who faced all three has now had his say, and claimed that the Serb would be the one to hold all the records though Federer’s influence would remain greater.
Bedene recently ended his career during the Davis Cup, joining Federer in retirement after the 41-year-old had one last dance during the Laver Cup with his biggest rivals by his side. As he looked back on his career, the Slovenian also reflected on the GOAT debate and claimed that it was Djokovic who had been the most difficult opponent.
“You have to open your eyes,” he told SportKlub, discussing the GOAT debate. “Roger Federer had the greatest influence that is remembered in the world of tennis. If we talk about the best in terms of results, it will definitely be Novak Djokovic.”
While Bedene thought Federer had a bigger impact on the sport, he was firmly backing the world No 7 to go on to break all the records with Djokovic already holding the most weeks at No 1 and the most Masters titles in ATP history. He continued: “I am of the opinion that the Serbian will be the player with the most Grand Slam titles once all three have retired, also from Masters 1000, even in number of tournaments.
“I have played against all three many times and Novak has the most difficult ball to tackle, he is perfect.” Bedene has a 4-0 losing record against the 21-time Grand Slam champion, with their most recent clash coming at the French Open this year.
He played Federer twice in 2018 and lost both matches, and also has a 2-0 losing record against Nadal. The 33-year-old did confess that he started to believe he could beat the likes of the Big Three and Andy Murray after a successful training block before the pandemic before tennis stopped for several months, leaving Bedene doubting whether he could reach the heights of the top 20 and 30.
“In the second half of the 2019 season, I won Portoroz, played the third round of Flushing with Zverev and lost in four sets, two of which were tiebreaks,” he said. “I was in the quarter-finals in Vienna, player Tsonga for the title in Metz, then the following year in February I beat Tsitsipas and lost to Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals. If I played a good spring, I could have been close to the top 20, but then we found out at Indian Wells that the tournaments were cancelled.”