In tennis, history abounds with great players that have left their indelible marks on the courts of time, in terms of consistency, skills and accomplishments none can be compared to this trio, interestingly all are still active and have taken the sport into realms beyond our imagination into flights of fancy which can challenge other great historical sporting achievement.
Rod laver and other greats of his era and before had jaw dropping achievements but then a lot of their successes were done at amateur level and the competition was not as intense as in the modern era with the aid of technology, advancement in health, fitness and nutrition. Comparing different generations is usually a complicated ordeal because of differing circumstances which invariably cannot be placed on the same scale. But an attempt must be made. like in other sports such as in football and golf, achievements across history can be assessed and about 10 outstanding players will always emerge. In tennis, these three sporting icons can justifiably be regarded as the best in history if juxtaposed in any era when all their statistics are deeply considered if certain other circumstances are assumed to be constant.
The sporting milestones that lifted Peter Sampras above other greats like his arch rival Agassi, others like Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Emerson and Laver were his 14 majors and 286 weeks as number one. The trio has eclipsed his major titles. Two of them have passed him with the most consecutive weeks at the top.
These living legends hunt down opponents like preys for the lower ranked players they lay in wait at the early rounds while for the higher ranked and more illustrious opponents they raise their game and still dispose of them at the latter stages of tournaments. They are the best three in major and masters’ titles all-time leading list. Which are the most prestigious trophies available even at the atp 500 world tour event two of the three have won the most. It’s the same story at the season ending world tour finals masters two of them dominate. They have finished each year as the number 1 ranked player from 2004 with the exception of 2016, until date one of them is still leading the rankings. Put into perspective 16 years of total dominance at the summit. on the average, the maximum career in professional tennis does not usually reach 13 years, most do not remain in the top 50 on the atp rankings for that long, for most winning, a major or a single master title represent their career milestone. The trio has accumulated at least 20 major titles the next active players have just 3 majors.
Roger Federer (widely regarded as the best ever as at two years ago), Rafael Nadal (the man of the moment) and Novak Djokovic (The current number one) all Europeans, all more than 34years, they have used their rivalries against themselves and a chase of history as a motivation to surpass their expectations and ours. Roger and Novak has dominated the hard-court and grass events winning more of the important trophies while Rafael has conquered everything on clay with a winning margin which have never been seen before, he is rightly referred to as the king of clay. Nadal won the recently concluded Australian open title which took him above both Federer and Djokovic as the most successful gram slam winner. Interestingly, his opponent Medvedev stopped Djokovic from winning the US open which prevented him from holding all four slams in a calendar year(laver was the last to achieve it in 1969)and also overtaking his arch rivals as the single major leader.
Their great lifetime achievements
· Longest semifinal and quarter finals appearances in slams 46 and 58 respectively.
· Highest Wimbledon titles-8.
· most consecutive weeks as number one-237
· Most season ending titles 6.
· joint most slam final appearances with Djokovic-31
· Longest and second most consecutive grand slam final apperances-10, 8.
· Longest slam appearances 81.
· Oldest top ranked player-36years.
· Most grand slams-21
· 13 French open(a record for all the slams)
· 100% in French open finals 13/13
· Most titles in a masters tournament(11-monte carlo)
· Olympic gold medals at both singles and doubles
· Longest winning streak on clay-81 (best in all surfaces)
· Most wins in masters-398
· Most grand slams-21
· Joint career double grand slam with Djokovic
· Most consecutive single surface set wins in the open era-50
· Most winning streak in a tournament-46
· Held all the majors at once on more surfaces on the way to his non calendar grand slam
· Longest stay as number one 358 weeks and still counting.
· Most Australian open-9
· Better head to head against Federer and Nadal in more matches in comparison with other rivalries
· Won all the nine masters. At least twice none has even completed the golden majors once.
· Most end of year as number one. 7.
· joint most slam final appearances-31 with Federer
· most masters’ titles 37
· Most ranking points in a single season 16,950
· Most wins at each grand slam-79,
· Most hard-court gram slam titles-12.
· Most consecutive wins at the majors-27
· Most consecutive wins at the masters-31
· Joint career double grand slam with Nadal
· Most important trophies(grand slam3, masters 6, tour final-1,) won in a single seasn-10
These milestones may not be breached and more title accumulation will be record extending feats. Below are the achievements lacking in their individual repertoire of success which will not in any way diminish their accomplishments.
· Most titles on the circuit list the leader and their positions 109, Federer 103
· Holding the grand slam in a season plus the Olympics. Achieved only by Steffi graf….no male has done that.
· Federer (monte carlo, rome masters),Nadal paris, miami, world tour finals,,Djokovic ( gold at the Olympics) lacking some important titles
· Consecutive year as world number one-6
· Most consecutive grand slam won-6
· Most titles in a tournament-17 Herbert Barrett Suffolk
· Holding all nine masters title at the same time.
Different expert analysis, the ELO rating system which is an effective metric, data such as head to head between players are used to nominate the greatest across all generations but one thing is certain, at the end of their glittering careers definitely will the question of the GREATEST OF ALL TIME (GOAT) become clearer and a convincing answer made available. Tennis fans are really privileged to witness this unfolding master class.
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