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Roger Federer backed to win Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal duel despite Serb’s advantage

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC managed to equal his long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles this year – a record for male players now shared by the Big Three.

Roger Federer will go down as the greatest male player of all time, according to Express Sport readers. More than 7,500 people voted as the Swiss star was picked to end his career with the GOAT title instead of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. The current world No 1 still remains the favourite to win the most Grand Slam titles as he equalled his Big Three rivals on 20 this year.

Djokovic has enjoyed a stunning 2021 season, breaking the record for most weeks at world No 1, most year-end No 1 finishes and most Masters 1000 titles.

He was also the first man in 52 years to start the season off by winning the first three Grand Slam titles.

The achievement sent him on a quest to be the first male player to achieve the Golden Slam – winning all four Majors and Olympic gold in the same year – but he lost the Olympics semi-final to Alexander Zverev despite being a set-and-a-break up, denying him the chance to compete for a gold medal in the final.

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Although he was unable to win the one thing that has always evaded him, Djokovic kept his sights firmly on being the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the Calendar Grand Slam.

He came within one match of writing his name in the history books but lost the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev, leaving the Calendar Slam out of his reach.

While the 34-year-old was unable to win all four Majors in one year – and win a record 21st Grand Slam title which would have seen him break the record currently shared with Federer and Nadal – Express Sport readers believe Djokovic will go on to hold more big titles than his rivals.

A staggering 72 per cent thought Djokovic would end his career with the most Grand Slam titles, compared to just 17 per cent backing Nadal and 11 per cent thinking Federer would hold a record haul.

Despite an overwhelming amount of people backing the Serb to hold the most Majors – a key advantage in the GOAT debate – Djokovic was not the favourite to be regarded as the best male player of all time.

45 per cent of readers thought that Federer would go down as the greatest of all time in men’s tennis.

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The current Big Three era of dominance has sparked a fierce GOAT debate, which has intensified since Djokovic matched Federer and Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles during Wimbledon this year.

However, it seems Express Sport readers are not choosing Majors as the biggest factor in the debate, with Federer coming out on top over his rivals despite receiving the least votes to win more Grand Slam titles.

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40 per cent voted for Djokovic to go down as the GOAT, as he just trailed behind Federer

Meanwhile just 15 per cent backed the Spaniard, who recently made his return from a left foot injury.

Federer and Nadal have both struggled with injuries this year while Djokovic continued to dominate.

Current world No 16 Federer spent most of 2020 out with a knee injury, undergoing two surgeries, and returned to the tour in March this year.

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He played just five tournaments before ending his season once again and having a third surgery.

Meanwhile Nadal ended his season ahead of the US Open with a elft foot injury that also kept him out of Wimbledon and the Olympics.

He returned to action at last week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championships but has since tested positive for Covid, throwing his chances of making it to Australia into doubt.

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