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Discussion Starter #1
I've said previously that I definitely consider Nadal to be the weakest of the big three. Obviously it's a slightly obtuse scenario, because he's also clearly the best on clay, and is the best player on one particular surface ever. I don't think anyone can reasonably disagree with that.

But his record on clay has disguised the fact that across all surfaces, in the cold light of day, he's probably not even top ten of all-time. Maybe he would scrape in there. But it's quite obvious that on any surface other than clay, he's nowhere near as good as Federer or Djokovic.

I have a hard time deciding which one of Federer or Djokovic is better. Federer is undoubtedly the most skilful player that I've seen, with the most flexible game, and Djokovic has undoubtedly benefited more from the prevailing conditions than Federer. But I would probably plump for Djokovic as being the best, because he has absolutely no weaknesses. If I was going to coach a player from scratch, I would definitely use Djokovic as the model.

However, regardless of how you feel about this, look at Nadal's record against Federer since 2015:

Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Walkover (when he would have lost)
Won (on clay)
Lost

That is pretty bad. But his record against Djokovic in the last six years is nothing short of atrocious:

Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Won (on clay)
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Won (on clay)
Won (on clay)
Lost
Lost
Won (on clay)
Lost

You can make more of a case for him being better than Federer because he leads the head-to-head, and he obviously posed Federer massive problems earlier in their careers. But I don't see how anyone can possibly claim that Nadal is better than Djokovic, almost regardless of their Grand Slam tally. Djokovic has won 25 of their last 37 matches (68%), and Nadal has only beaten Djokovic on anything other than a clay court four times in eleven years! If you take clay out of the equation then Djokovic has won 18 of their last 22 matches (82%) over eleven years.

That's before you take lots of other things into consideration. But I don't see how you can look at those numbers and still claim that Nadal is better than Djokovic.
 

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and Nadal has only beaten Djokovic on anything other than a clay court four times in eleven years!
yep, so for Djokovic, it was .. 2 in 2017-18 knock out in 2017 and the first semester 2018 and the other .. in Rome 2019, with a very compromising and delayed program, even if Nadal remains favorite on clay.
 

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Couldn’t agree more, Dull might own clay but on any other surface, he’s both Federer and Djokvoic’s bitch. Federer is definitely the best on fast courts and Djokovic is the best on slow hard courts. Djokovic is less exploitable as a weak net game and overhead are harder to exploit than Federer’s backhand but I take Federer simply due to his shot making skills which are second to none along with his ability to do pretty much anything on the court.
 

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I've said previously that I definitely consider Nadal to be the weakest of the big three. Obviously it's a slightly obtuse scenario, because he's also clearly the best on clay, and is the best player on one particular surface ever. I don't think anyone can reasonably disagree with that.

But his record on clay has disguised the fact that across all surfaces, in the cold light of day, he's probably not even top ten of all-time. Maybe he would scrape in there. But it's quite obvious that on any surface other than clay, he's nowhere near as good as Federer or Djokovic.

I have a hard time deciding which one of Federer or Djokovic is better. Federer is undoubtedly the most skilful player that I've seen, with the most flexible game, and Djokovic has undoubtedly benefited more from the prevailing conditions than Federer. But I would probably plump for Djokovic as being the best, because he has absolutely no weaknesses. If I was going to coach a player from scratch, I would definitely use Djokovic as the model.

However, regardless of how you feel about this, look at Nadal's record against Federer since 2015:

Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Walkover (when he would have lost)
Won (on clay)
Lost

That is pretty bad. But his record against Djokovic in the last six years is nothing short of atrocious:

Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Won (on clay)
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Lost
Won (on clay)
Won (on clay)
Lost
Lost
Won (on clay)
Lost

You can make more of a case for him being better than Federer because he leads the head-to-head, and he obviously posed Federer massive problems earlier in their careers. But I don't see how anyone can possibly claim that Nadal is better than Djokovic, almost regardless of their Grand Slam tally. Djokovic has won 25 of their last 37 matches (68%), and Nadal has only beaten Djokovic on anything other than a clay court four times in eleven years! If you take clay out of the equation then Djokovic has won 18 of their last 22 matches (82%) over eleven years.

That's before you take lots of other things into consideration. But I don't see how you can look at those numbers and still claim that Nadal is better than Djokovic.
This string of losses (some of which, by the way, were by a narrow margin, like WB 2018 or AO 2017) happened after Nadal declined dramatically in 2014 and Djokovic has taken full advantage of that. (So has Federer, who himself has declined steeply as well, but his serve always gives him chances.) Nadal has 19 slams + olympic gold despite having to compete with two all-time greats at their peak, unlike the others: he had it tougher than anyone else. By contrast Djokovic racked up slams when his two main rivals had declined and despite this significant advantage, he still has fewer than either of them.

Nadal has also shown the most versatility of the three, winning multiple slams on every surface.

I don't know how you can look at these facts and still claim that Djokovic is better than either of them. Moreover, in terms of level of play it's clear that Djokovic has never come close to Nadal's peak level of play at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, or the US Open.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This string of losses (some of which, by the way, were by a narrow margin, like WB 2018 or AO 2017)
Sorry, I was forgetting that if you lose by a 'narrow margin' that it doesn't count! Djokovic has beaten Nadal in every non-clay match that they've played for seven years, but some of them were quite close, so they don't really mean anything!

happened after Nadal declined dramatically in 2014 and Djokovic has taken full advantage of that.
You could rather more accurately state that Nadal established a lead in the head-to-head before Djokovic became the force that he is now. Nadal led Djokovic 14-4 in the H2H at a time when Djokovic had only won one GS. At the time, Nadal had won 6, so since then Djokovic has won 16 and Nadal has won 13. So you're looking at a timescale in which Nadal has won more than two-thirds of his GS titles, yet Djokovic has completely owned him during that period. As I mentioned previously, he has won 82% of their non-clay matches over this 11-year period.

So has Federer, who himself has declined steeply as well, but his serve always gives him chances.
Again, you would have a hard time arguing that Nadal has been at a disadvantage against Federer due to his age, when Federer is 5 years older! What has in fact happened is that Federer has stopped playing him on clay. The one time he did play him on clay, Nadal, predictably, won with some comfort. Every time they've played on other surfaces, Federer has won.

Nadal has 19 slams + olympic gold despite having to compete with two all-time greats at their peak, unlike the others: he had it tougher than anyone else.
Nadal's achievements are not in doubt, nor is the fact that he's a great player. The Olympic gold means nothing, in all honesty, but the Grand Slams are a fantastic achievement, obviously.

However, it's a frankly daft statement to claim that he is the only one who has had to compete with two all-time greats at their peak. Clearly, Djokovic has had to do this as well, while Federer has had to do it when 5 years older than Nadal and 6 years older than Djokovic.

By contrast Djokovic racked up slams when his two main rivals had declined and despite this significant advantage, he still has fewer than either of them.
Certainly, Djokovic has benefited from Federer's decline, although it's notable that despite Nadal being only one year older than Djokovic, he hasn't benefited from Federer's decline. He is losing continually to Federer now. This assertion that Nadal has declined, and is somehow at an unfair disadvantage against Djokovic, is silly. He's only 12 months older than Djokovic. He won two Grand Slams last year! The fact is that he just hasn't been able to compete with Djokovic on anything other than a clay court for a very long time.

Nadal has also shown the most versatility of the three, winning multiple slams on every surface.
Well, they're all versatile, but Nadal has won the greatest percentage of his Slams at one event (63%), more than either Federer or Djokovic by some distance. The only reason that Federer and Nadal haven't won multiple Slams at every event is because of Nadal's dominance of the French Open, with Nadal leading the pair of them 12-1 at Roland Garros. The one match that Djokovic did manage to win was when Nadal was playing horribly, and the only time they both managed to win the French Open was when they didn't have to play Nadal.

That's because Nadal is the best on clay by a country mile, as I've already stated.

I don't know how you can look at these facts and still claim that Djokovic is better than either of them.
Well, as I say, it's seven years since Nadal beat Djokovic on anything other than a clay court. And they've played more matches than any other two players in ATP history; so he's had plenty of chances.
 

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I would probably plump for Djokovic as being the best, because he has absolutely no weaknesses.
Do you really think Djokovic has no weakness? He's probably not in the top 100 at the net, but gets away with it because the modern game doesn't test that aspect. Federer could be top 10 ever even in that department, if required.

Your other points are reasonable enough. Everyone knows Djokovic has surpassed Nadal, clay Slams notwithstanding. Considering the number of times Fed got close to peak Djokovic, even well into his 30s, I think its fair to say peak Federer reached a higher level. 2004-2006 Fed would have too much variety. But's it's a fair debate.
 

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This string of losses (some of which, by the way, were by a narrow margin, like WB 2018 or AO 2017) happened after Nadal declined dramatically in 2014 and Djokovic has taken full advantage of that. (So has Federer, who himself has declined steeply as well, but his serve always gives him chances.) Nadal has 19 slams + olympic gold despite having to compete with two all-time greats at their peak, unlike the others: he had it tougher than anyone else. By contrast Djokovic racked up slams when his two main rivals had declined and despite this significant advantage, he still has fewer than either of them.

Nadal has also shown the most versatility of the three, winning multiple slams on every surface.

I don't know how you can look at these facts and still claim that Djokovic is better than either of them. Moreover, in terms of level of play it's clear that Djokovic has never come close to Nadal's peak level of play at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, or the US Open.
At Wimbledon, i would take Djokovic highest level over Nadal any day of the week, his serve + return combo is a ripper... Agreed with the other 2.

After 2014 (excluding 2015), Nadal changed his style somewhat but did he decline much? I don't think so, if you look at someone like Monfils he is reaching his best level now that he is above 33 years old. So that players automatically decline after 30 is a myth.
 

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Everyone goes through streaks

Young Nadal owned both those guys, now they came back. We will see how it ends up
 

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Useless thread.

Rafa still owns Fed. Fed got him for 1 year, and has dodged him since.

Heck, in Rafa's worst ever year (2015), they went down to the wire in Basel.
 

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This string of losses (some of which, by the way, were by a narrow margin, like WB 2018 or AO 2017) happened after Nadal declined dramatically in 2014 and Djokovic has taken full advantage of that. (So has Federer, who himself has declined steeply as well, but his serve always gives him chances.) Nadal has 19 slams + olympic gold despite having to compete with two all-time greats at their peak, unlike the others: he had it tougher than anyone else. By contrast Djokovic racked up slams when his two main rivals had declined and despite this significant advantage, he still has fewer than either of them.

Nadal has also shown the most versatility of the three, winning multiple slams on every surface.

I don't know how you can look at these facts and still claim that Djokovic is better than either of them. Moreover, in terms of level of play it's clear that Djokovic has never come close to Nadal's peak level of play at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, or the US Open.
This is not a thread sIamming NadaI or his body of work but simply comparing him vs other big 2 & you can certainIy express your opinion as to who might b the better pIayer or who u Iike but i'm afraid the facts speak for themseIves & whatever NadaI's "peak pIay" is at WB, it cIearIy hasn't come cIose to Fedovic's 13-2 in WB titIes & having a Ione victory vs Novak there in .......2007 in the third set due to ret. As Iong as Novak stiII has the desire to compete in form, NadaI can kiss his WB chances goodbye. As for USO, i'm hoping it's conducted at some point this year so that i can witness Novak surpassing Fed's HC majors record & wouIdn't it b sweet to witness him taking down FedaI along the way to earn it, not to mention what would b 'competitive' 12-5 overaII HC taIIy vs MaIIorcan. Did i mention their YEC titIes taIIy or weeks at no.1 comparison or which one of FedaIovic possesses the GoIden Masters?
 

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Yep, he's been awful outside clay against them, even going 0-2 in slams against Federer after not losing for a decade. OTOH he's been dominant on clay since they all returned to the top. Not even Djokovic was able to beat him there and he had quite a few wins during 2011-2016.
 

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Sorry, I was forgetting that if you lose by a 'narrow margin' that it doesn't count! Djokovic has beaten Nadal in every non-clay match that they've played for seven years, but some of them were quite close, so they don't really mean anything!
Don't be ridiculous. It does count but you need to put that into context when interpreting what it means. You have erroneously claimed that Nadal "hasn't been able to compete with them", when he was very close to winning some of these matches.

However, it's a frankly daft statement to claim that he is the only one who has had to compete with two all-time greats at their peak. Clearly, Djokovic has had to do this as well, while Federer has had to do it when 5 years older than Nadal and 6 years older than Djokovic.
Other than 2008, Djokovic never had to compete with peak Federer to win slams. So no, there's nothing daft (or controversial) about this statement. Nadal had to deal with both, he didn't have the luxury that Djokovic has had since 2015 (or Federer had before 2006).
This gives a great advantage to Djokovic (i.e., it makes it easier for him to win slams with less ability) and is, of course, something that needs to be taken when evaluating their achievements.

Nadal never enjoyed a relative lack of competition during his peak years similar to what Djokovic had after 2015, just imagine how many more slams he could have won if he had.
(In fact, if they all had peaked at the same age, I think Nadal would probably lead the slam count by some margin.)

So you're looking at a timescale in which Nadal has won more than two-thirds of his GS titles, yet Djokovic has completely owned him during that period.
What are you talking about? Nadal has won 5 slams during the period you describe (after 2015). And Djokovic never "owned" him before that.


Certainly, Djokovic has benefited from Federer's decline, although it's notable that despite Nadal being only one year older than Djokovic, he hasn't benefited from Federer's decline. He is losing continually to Federer now. This assertion that Nadal has declined, and is somehow at an unfair disadvantage against Djokovic, is silly. He's only 12 months older than Djokovic. He won two Grand Slams last year! The fact is that he just hasn't been able to compete with Djokovic on anything other than a clay court for a very long time.
He has been able to compete with them, but he didn't take his chances in some of these matches. And Nadal has been playing slam-winning tennis since a much earlier age than Djokovic, despite the one year age difference, which probably contributed to his earlier decline. It's clear his forehand in particular has declined a lot, I don't see how this assertion can be "silly".

There's nothing "unfair" about it but you can't draw the conclusions you are making. When you have declined and play a younger opponent you can expect losses that don't reflect your former ability, and inflate your opponent's H2H stats. It's not hard to understand.

Why do you focus on what happened after 2015 anyway? I could play your game and consider only their head to head up to, say, 2009. You could claim that Djokovic was not yet in peak form and you would be right, but curiously you seem unable to understand that Nadal wasn't in his either after 2014. This is a double standard.

The situation with Federer is different, but most of Nadal's losses against him since 2015 came in the same year (2017). There's little reason to believe this pattern would have continued if they had played more often recently. In any case, people age and decline differently. (In Nadal's case, the fact that his serve is not a weapon seems to be a factor in his steeper decline compared to Federer or Djokovic.)


Well, they're all versatile, but Nadal has won the greatest percentage of his Slams at one event (63%), more than either Federer or Djokovic by some distance.
So what? Would Federer magically become less versatile if he won 10 more Wimbledons? (in which case his Wimbledon percentage would be 60%) Would Nadal be more versatile if he had won Roland Garros 5 less times? Of course not. That statistic has very little to do with versatility, which is about having big accomplishment on all surfaces. A better metric would be the minimum number of grand slams won over the three surfaces (which Nadal leads with 2), or over the four Grand Slams (in which case all three are tied with 1).
 

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Sorry but detecting too many ifs & couId/shouId haves which don't get anyone the cigar unfortunateIy. Can we just b satisfied that for now, we can cIaim one as ‘arguabIy’ BOAT/GOAT on CIay, one the same on Grass & w/ one more HC major titIe, Novak separates himseIf on that surface & w/ one more WB, at Ieast 2nd aII-time on that surface as i rate Fed/Sampras same IeveI on Grass.
 

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Nadal was 22-15 against Nole after the 2013 USO.
Nole was slumped in his seat after this defeat, and then stated defiantly at the post match press conference, that the best was yet to come.
Only the most hardcore Nole fans believed him at the time.
He then turned the tables on Nadal,!big time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Don't be ridiculous. It does count but you need to put that into context when interpreting what it means. You have erroneously claimed that Nadal "hasn't been able to compete with them", when he was very close to winning some of these matches.
So I'm sure when Nadal was dominating the head-to-head with Federer, you said "well, some of the matches have been close, so it doesn't really matter that Nadal has been winning. Also, Federer is past his peak". I'm sure you will have said that.

This gives a great advantage to Djokovic (i.e., it makes it easier for him to win slams with less ability) and is, of course, something that needs to be taken when evaluating their achievements.
I've already pointed this out, and it's fairly well-documented, but Nadal is only one year older than Djokovic. Nadal has had exactly the same opportunities as Djokovic. The only difference between the two is that Nadal was extremely good at a young age, which meant he could rack up some Grand Slam wins before Djokovic got going. Djokovic has followed the more normal development of a player. That's not a disadvantage for Nadal, that's an advantage.

And this argument about "Nadal isn't at his peak any more" is obviously completely erroneous, because of the very small difference in age between Nadal and Djokovic. Less than one year; 353 days to be precise. You can't claim that Nadal is now past his best, so this invalidates anything that Djokovic does, but also claim that Djokovic is now at his peak, when for 12 days of each year they are literally the same age! It's just a preposterous and utterly illogical assertion!

When you have declined and play a younger opponent you can expect losses that don't reflect your former ability, and inflate your opponent's H2H stats. It's not hard to understand.
Just to point out again, in case there's some confusion, Nadal and Djokovic are basically the same age! And Nadal has barely beaten him on anything other than clay for 11 years! At which time they were both in their early twenties. So he's had plenty of chances.

Why do you focus on what happened after 2015 anyway? I could play your game and consider only their head to head up to, say, 2009.
But this would make absolutely no sense, because you would be placing an absurd emphasis on the first three years that they played, and ignoring the last eleven years!

Furthermore, Djokovic was very young at that time, and was following the more natural development of a player. Nadal led the H2H 6-2 before Djokovic had won a Grand Slam, and Djokovic had only won 1 GS at the end of 2009. He only won his second GS in 2011. Nadal essentially established a lead in the H2H when Djokovic was very young, and not as good as Nadal was during his teenage years, but since 2009 Djokovic has mashed him up time and time again.

And, just to be clear, that is from a time when Djokovic was aged 22 and Nadal was aged 23, so it is right across their peak years as tennis players, so you cannot make any specious claims about Nadal being past his best or peak. But, just to emphasise again, Nadal and Djokovic are virtually the same age anyway, so there is no reasonable explanation why Djokovic has continually beaten Nadal throughout the core of their careers. Other than the elementary explanation that Djokovic is simply better, except on clay where Nadal is the best ever.

The situation with Federer is different, but most of Nadal's losses against him since 2015 came in the same year (2017). There's little reason to believe this pattern would have continued if they had played more often recently.
Did you not see Wimbledon last year where Federer beat Nadal? A much more reasonable conclusion would be that Nadal is fortunate that he hasn't run into Federer more since 2017, as he almost certainly would have lost every match, as he has since 2015, except the one time that they played on clay. Of course, he has also lost every single non-clay match to Djokovic during this time as well.

A better metric would be the minimum number of grand slams won over the three surfaces (which Nadal leads with 2), or over the four Grand Slams (in which case all three are tied with 1).
A better metric would be...the only possible one I can conceive which favours Nadal!

I mean, honestly this point isn't worth responding to, as anyone who knows anything about tennis knows that Nadal has the biggest drop-off of the three from his best surface to the other surfaces. It's not even worth debating.
 

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It makes me laugh when people like you judge Nadal on his achievements off clay as a bar for his greatness.

What if we judge Federer and Djokovic off there clay records? Point is Federer and Djokovic both excel on faster surfaces I.e Aus Wimbledon Us. While Nadal the slower surfaces I.e the French. This has always been the case. There’s never been nor do I ever think there will be an example of a perfect all round player who excels on every surface.

This means whoever winds up goat will always have a lopsided record to one extent. I personally take the fact that Nadal beat Federer on the way to a Wimbledon title and and Aus title, plus Djokovic to 2 us titles to be way more impressive then both Djokovic and Federer winning there RG titles without beating Nadal. Yeah Djokovic beat him in 2015 but he didn’t go on to win the title and let’s face it Nadal in 2015 was not Nadal.

Nadal while not the best off clay as you have explained already still has defied more odds to mange himself a top 10 career off clay. For mine that is what’s most impressive about Nadals career and why I think he does have a say in the goat debate.
 

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Looking at the trivalry: Rafa is 4-14 against Djokovic since the 2013 USO, Rafa is 1-6 against Rogie since the 2014 AO, and Rogie is 7-14 against Djokovic since the 2013 USO...

Djokovic really turned it around after the 2013 USO, he was 100% correct, the best was yet to come from him... A combined 28-11 (71.79%) over Rogie and Rafa since the 2013 USO!! Rafa's 4 wins over Djokovic were only on clay, and Rogie's 7 wins over Djokovic are 6 on hard courts and 1 on clay...

My take: I expect Djokovic and Rogie to beat Rafa every time for now on when the matches are held on hard courts and grass courts, but for Rafa to win every time against Rogie on clay and it to be 2/3 of the time in Rafa's favor over Djokovic on clay!! Rogie and Rafa will likely never face on clay again, if Rogie skips all clay events for now on then for 100% certain, he'll only face Rafa on hard courts and grass courts then, which is a big advantage Rogie... So Rogie can definitely get the h2h closer into his favor, 6-1 since 2014 AO, from 10-23 to 16-24, the only loss on clay, and had Rafa faced Rogie in their 2019 IW SF matchup, Rogie would be 17-24 now!! As for Rafa and Djokovic, Rafa has to hope he gets to face Djokovic on clay, or else, he'll never beat him again... Right now it's 29-26 Djokovic over Rafa, but my thinking, not only will Djokovic finish with the h2h advantage over Rafa, but it'll be by more than 3, more like 7-10 I say.... Whereas now at 16-24 vs. Rafa, Rogie could turn it around to like 20-24 which would be incredible, another 4 wins with 0 losses, pushing the h2h from 10-23 to 20-24, 10-1 would be huge for his legacy even more!! As for the Rogie-Djokovic h2h, 27-23 Djokovic, a 4 match lead, but it was 22-22 as of the end of 2015... Since then it's 5-1 Djokovic overall, which is right around the time Rogie was 34+ in age!!

Conclusion: Rogie hung in there with Djokovic at 22-22 when he was 34 years old, and then it really turned in Djokovic's favor and he now leads 27-23... Rafa hung in there with Djokvoic at 23-23 through the end of 2015 also, but he was only 29 then, not 34 like Rogie,since then Djokovic is 6-3 over Rafa (1-3 on clay, 1-0 on grass, and 4-0 on hard courts)!! Once 2016 hit, Djokovic took over the h2h lead over Rafa and Rogie for good it appears... The key difference is that Djokovic took over the h2h for good against Rogie at age 34, but Rafa was only 29, so Rogie did the better job hanging in there with Djokovic (at 29 Rogie had a winning record over Djokvic by a good margin)!!
 
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