Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer: grand slam titles, 2020 predictions and the big ‘GOAT’ debate

Dec 20, 2019

The big three in men’s tennis will head to the Australian Open aiming for more major success

Novak Djokovic has 16 grand slam titles, Rafael Nadal has 19 and Roger Federer has 20

2020 Australian Open
  • What: first tennis grand slam of the year
  • When: 20 January to 2 February 2020
  • Where: Melbourne, Australia
  • 2019 men’s singles final: Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–2, 6–3

Can anyone stop the “big three” in men’s tennis in 2020? Rafael Nadal goes into the new year as the world No.1 and his rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are No.2 and No.3 on the rankings respectively.

See related ‘It’s unreal’: Djokovic triumphs in Wimbledon final thriller against Federer

In 2019 Spaniard Nadal won the French Open and US Open grand slams while Serbian Djokovic was triumphant at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon.

Swiss star Federer did not add to his record 20 career slam titles in 2019 but along with Nadal and Djokovic he is one of the favourites for the 2020 Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on 20 January.

According to Oddschecker defending champion Djokovic is the 7/4 favourite to win in Melbourne. Second favourite Nadal, who lost to Djokovic in the 2019 final, is priced at 7/2 while Federer is 10/1.

Australian Open and 2020 predictions

Younger players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev will aim to break the big three’s grand slam domination, but Tennis Pro Guru believes there’s still a gap between them and the “old grand trio”.

“Now everybody will talk about Daniil Medvedev,” said Tennis Pro Guru. “Is he the one who can break into the ‘three men’ zone? Can he beat Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer?

“Our answer is clear. His time will come but not in February 2020. Novak Djokovic will be again the winner of the Australian Open. Barring an unexpected injury, he will be prepared to beat anyone.”

Speaking to BBC Sport Tim Henman also backs seven-time winner Djokovic to continue his success in Melbourne. The British former player said: “I will go for Djokovic. I think his record is so good down under. He has got enough time for rest and recuperation that he is the man to beat.”

Federer ended 2019 without a slam but Australian legend Rod Laver believes the 38-year-old can win the first major of the year. Laver said: “He seems to be fine and that’s what counts. If you love the game as much as you do, that’s fine. I also give Roger a very good chance of winning the Australian Open again in Melbourne in January.”

Shikhar Sachdev of SportsKeeda doubts that Federer will win a slam in 2020, but also predicts that Nadal could win two and surpass Federer’s record of 20 major titles.

Sachdev said: “While Federer is still a top contender, it does not look like he will win another slam in 2020. That means Nadal could finally equal and even break the record that he has been chasing throughout his career.”

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Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: how they compare

Novak Djokovic
  • Nationality: Serbian
  • Age: 32
  • World ranking: 2
  • Career titles: 77
  • Grand slam titles: 16
    – 7 x Australian Open: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019
    – 1 x French Open: 2016
    – 5 x Wimbledon: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019
    – 3 x US Open: 2011, 2015, 2018
  • Big titles: 55 (16 grand slams; 5 ATP finals; 34 ATP Masters 1000 titles)
Rafael Nadal
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 33
  • World ranking: 1
  • Career titles: 84
  • Grand slam titles: 19
    – 1 x Australian Open: 2009
    – 12 x French Open: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019
    – 2 x Wimbledon: 2008, 2010
    – 4 x US Open: 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019
  • Big titles: 54 (19 grand slams; 35 ATP Masters 1000 titles)
Roger Federer
  • Nationality: Swiss
  • Age: 38
  • World ranking: 3
  • Career titles: 103
  • Grand slam titles: 20
    – 6 x Australian Open: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018
    – 1 x French Open: 2009
    – 8 x Wimbledon: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017
    – 5 x US Open: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Big titles: 54 (20 grand slams; 6 ATP Finals; 28 ATP Masters 1000 titles)

2019 men’s singles grand slam winners

  • US Open: Rafael Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4
  • Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer 7-6 (7–5), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (7-3)
  • French Open: Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
  • Australian Open: Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–2, 6–3

For analysis of the biggest sport stories – and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news – try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free

The big ‘GOAT’ debate is on

Who is, or who will be, the greatest of all time (GOAT) in men’s tennis? It’s a topic that has long been debated throughout the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic domination.

After Nadal won his 19th major at the 2019 US Open, Ant Sharwood of 10 Daily said: “The bottom line might be that they’re all the greatest in their own way – which sounds like a cop-out, but isn’t. Because sometimes in both life and sport, there really is no singular answer.

“Whatever your thoughts, there’s no doubt Nadal just edged a little closer to stand-alone GOAT.”

How fans of the

After Nadal’s victory in New York his supporters definitely believe that their favourite player is the GOAT.

Here we look at the reactions of tennis fans following the US Open…

For analysis of the biggest sport stories – and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news – try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free

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