John McEnroe does not believe the men’s “GOAT” race will be decided by the number of Grand Slam victories, even if Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic go on to win five more majors.
Speaking to Eurosport ahead of the Laver Cup, Team World captain McEnroe – himself a seven-time Grand Slam champion – was joined by old rival and Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg to discuss Federer’s impending retirement.
Federer is set to end his career with 20 Grand Slam titles to his name. The Swiss was the first to reach this landmark having surpassed Pete Sampras’ record men’s tally of 14 back in 2009.
US Open
'I just needed to stop' - Williams opens up about retiring at US Open
But both Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21) have since overtaken Federer, although ahead of their reunion at the Laver Cup as part of Team Europe, it is not all about numbers – according to McEnroe.
“No. It should be measured by a combination of everything, as I think anyone in sport understands,” McEnroe said.
“You can make an argument for any of these three legends on any of the different surfaces over the course of how many events they won, how many majors, how many other tournaments, how little they pulled out of events, how consistent they were.
“Roger had 36 straight Grand Slam quarter-finals and 23 straight semi-finals, so you can look at those type of things and say well Roger gets the edge.
“You can make an argument for all of them, and we’ll be talking about that for the next 10 years, which one is better.”
Borg then added: “10 years only?”
To which McEnroe replied: “Maybe 20, maybe until the end of time, unless someone does something crazy and wins another five, which I suppose is possible at this rate, but even then I still think we would [debate it].”

‘Roger you’re the best!’ – Borg on the greatness of Federer

Borg also talked up the prospect of Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas leading the next generation.
And for McEnroe, he expects new world No. 1 Alcaraz to spearhead the cause and soon make Nadal and Djokovic’s prolonged dominance at Grand Slams a thing of the past.
“I think the younger generation, like Alcaraz, Sinner, Ruud, Tsitsipas, it’s going to be interesting to follow these guys in the future. They play unbelievable tennis,” said Borg.
McEnroe added: “Maybe now we’ll see some people that stand up to these guys a little more, which has been a problem for the other players.
“What Alcaraz did recently, it’s maybe going to give the other players belief, or maybe he’ll turn into them and all of a sudden we’ll be talking about Alcaraz with these guys [Federer, Djokovic, Nadal] – but that’s a long way off.”
- - -
Stream the 2022 Laver Cup exclusively live on discovery+ and
'Unravelling fast!' - Did Bublik deserve boos for trick shot in final?
Laver Cup
Exclusive: Ljubicic reveals what coaching Federer is like, says legend 'is not going anywhere'