Grand Slam Count Should Decide 'CABRA' Debate, Says Ivan Lendl

Eight times Grand slam winner Ivan Lendl said who ends up winning the most among the 'Big Three' of Roger Federer Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic should be considered the best male tennis Open era player.

The ' GOAT ' ( Greatest of all time ) debate in men's tennis has divided opinions for a decade and remains a hot topic as the trio continue to dominate the field, sharing the last 13 majors among them.

Federer, who will be 39 in August, leads the race with 20 Grand slam singles titles, with Spaniard Nadal close on his heels with 19.

The current No. 1 in the world, Djokovic, is three behind the Swiss with 17 majors to his credit and is the youngest of the trio: at 32 he is a year younger than Nadal.

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Pundits and fans have debated various factors for determining the greatness of a player: number of weeks at No. 1 ranking, overall tally of titles, Grand slam count or head-to-head record.

It is between Novak, Rafa and Roger who ends up with the most players and who is considered the best of all time in the open era, Lendl told Australian Channel Nine television in an interview published on Friday, adding that he considers Australia Rod Laver, the best in the pre-Open era.

All you can say right now is that Roger is leading the race - the race is not over. When they retire, the race will be over and you can judge, he said. The race is far from over.

You have to go with Roger right now, but I'm not going to close the book on that, Lendl added. As Djokovic and Nadal are younger and have more time to play, it will be an incredible race.

Djokovic has often been asked his thoughts on the overwhelming support for Federer and Nadal from the crowd when he locks horns with them on the tennis court.

While the Serbian says he is not antagonized by the lack of support from the crowd, Lendl said that public affection should not be a deciding factor.

Who is the most popular is one thing, but who is the biggest is not judged by popularity, said Lendl, of Czech origin, who in the past was the coach of Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev.