Whatever sport you can think of, it consists of three types of participants: losers,
winners and legends. From Messi to Jordan and from Tyson to Kasparov: they are all
legends in their respective fields. The term G.O.A.T. has been floating around for
these last couple of years, but who’s considered to be the ‘greatest of all-time’ in
the world of tennis? Unlike football, tennis players solely rely on their own qualities.
If you have a bad day, you’ll struggle and vice versa. However, there are still a
dozen of angles from which you can at look at this question. Is longevity more
important than peaking or are head-to-head records a better reference point? We at
Moon Intelligence took the liberty to quantify this question based on the data we’ve
acquired in all these years and go beyond counting the number of Grand Slam titles won.
Above, you can see our participants in this research: Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and
Murray. Gasquet is included as reference point for a standard good player as he
had a rank around 10-20th for most of his career.
Something which immediately catches the eye is Nadal topping the charts on
a clay surface. His amount of French Open wins speaks loudly in his favor here. You
can see that Djokovic temporarily took over as best ‘clay player’, but Nadal
surpassed him around 2017 and has been increasing his lead since then.
The interesting part about this surface is how the top-4 was insanely close in terms
of rating for many, many years. But then Djokovic hit it out the park, peaking at a
rating of 1151, with Federer (1026) and Nadal (1022) not even peaking remotely
The rise and fall of Murray on this chart is crystal clear. Injuries held him back and
have been for a long time, but look at his upcoming. The Englishman peaked at 854
on ‘grass’, something Nadal (793) could only dream of. Another interesting thing is
the consistency in which Federer performed; from start to finish, his level of play has
been stunningly good with an average rating (848). His average is higher than
Above is the average rating from all the surfaces and the data tells us that in fact
Djokovic (average of 949), is our best tennis player with Federer (928) following him
very closely. The peak of Djokovic around 2015 and 2016 certainly contributed to
his ‘GOAT-title’. But lately, Djokovic has been tumbling down a bit, with Federer
incredibly consistent and Nadal slowly rising in rating; making it a three-horse race
once again. All three aren’t getting younger unfortunately. Our Swiss participant is
the oldest of the three with 38 years, Nadal follows at 34 and Djokovic is the
youngest at 33. Their era won’t last forever, but their level of play has been a sight
to behold. Our G.O.A.T is Djokovic, but Federer and Nadal also have a special place
in our hearts.