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'Head-to-heads are significant in tennis GOAT debate,' says former ATP star

Rafael Nadal Roger Federer Novak Djokovic atp big three tennis goat debate

Pat Cash believes the head-to-heads between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic should be 'significant' in settling the tennis GOAT debate.

Debate has raged in tennis in recent years over which of the three will, and should, be remembered as the tennis GOAT (greatest of all time).

Former Wimbledon champion Cash believes that debate unfairly excludes players from other eras, although when it comes to judging who the greatest of the current era is, one statistic is especially important.

“Head-to-heads are significant," Cash told the Herald. If you want to throw in who the greatest player of all time is, you have to have a winning head to head record against your other peers.

“Overall, [as] a player who can do everything, Federer certainly has to be up there.

“Nadal, of course, was a very good volleyer and he was able to use that extremely well. Not in the later years because his tactics were never going to trouble Federer."

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Cash believes Djokovic may have edged ahead of his two greatest rivals, although he might have been helped by the grass court game slowing down as it has because it makes his supreme return game a much bigger weapon than it would have been before.

"But Novak’s returning, serving and ground strokes on the slower grass courts that we have these days...

"To me, it feels like a bit of a pity that the courts have slowed down so much. Or the balls have slowed down, I should say.

"The courts are so good that they don’t give any real advantage to the serve and volley anymore.

"The return is like playing on hard court and we know how good Novak is on hard court. It’s not a huge difference in style anymore, if at all.”

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