Coach Ivan Lendl says it is a bit disappointing to see the greatest of all time debate being affected by politics as he wants Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to have a “fair battle” for the GOAT title.
Nadal, 36, owns a record 22 Grand Slams, while Djokovic is the second with 21 Grand Slams.
Roger Federer, 40, is a 20-time Grand Slam champion and Lendl suggests it’s unrealistic to expect the Swiss to win a Grand Slam again.
Djokovic missed out on the Australian Open earlier this year and now he is likely to miss out on the US Open as well.
Djokovic hasn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 and he can’t enter the United States as an unvaccinated foreigner.
Lendl hopes Djokovic gets a fair to battle Nadal for the GOAT title
“That story is not over yet,” Lendl told Nova TV, per Eurosport. “It will be finished when all three say goodbye. At the moment, Roger seems to be out of it, because he hasn’t played for a long time and he is the oldest. It is fascinating to watch and follow, not only for people from the tennis world, but for everyone else, spectators, fans. The only thing I regret a little bit is that the fight is somehow affected by politics at the moment because of the vaccination issue. I only hope that in 20 years we won’t look at it through that prism, that we won’t be sure who is the greatest because of politics. If Novak wins the most Grand Slam despite that, I think we will have an answer. If Rafa wins one more title, I think he will have to answer the question about the vaccination and the fact that Novak could not play. And I don’t think that’s fair.”
Over the weekend, Djokovic told fans he’s preparing for the US Open as if he will be allowed to play.