Novak Djokovic fans tend to react with fury when anyone dares to suggest their man is not the greatest tennis player of all-time and one sporting legend has felt their wrath after a social media post proclaiming Roger Federer to be the greatest tennis player of all-time.
Djokovic looks certain to finish his career with all the statistics in his favour as the greatest male player of all time, with his 24 Grand Slam titles putting him two ahead of Rafael Nadal and four ahead of Roger Federer.
He has also been world No 1 for over 100 weeks more than his nearest rival and has a chance to finish his career with more career titles than anyone in the history of the game.
Yet the greatest of all-time (GOAT) debate is not just based on numbers in the eyes of some tennis lovers.
Some will always respect the incredible achievements of Nadal, with his 14 wins at the French Open a sensational record that is had to beat in any sport.
Yet for many, Federer will always be the greatest.
The grace and guile he displayed on court and the manner in which he took the sport to a new audience around the world paved the way for Nadal and Djokovic to follow his path and become global superstars.
That is certainly the view of skiing legend Lindsey Vonn, who posted an excited message on X, formerly Twitter after she had a chance to take to the slopes with Federer.
— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 10, 2024
The images of Vonn skiing with Federer came with this heartwarming message for the Swiss maestro.
“Have to take some time to really reflect on what it this means to me… I have admired Roger as an athlete, philanthropist and incredible champion for so many years,” said Vonn.
“Normally, people you look up to always let you down in one way or another, but not Roger. Rog is the epitome of a true sportsman and champion in every sense of the word.
“We’ve been talking about skiing together for such a long time I wasn’t sure if it would happen…. But here we are; retired, skiing and enjoying life!”
READ MORE: Novak Djokovic will ‘set his sights on one big target’ to complete his GOAT legacy
Vonn then made the mistake of engaging with a Djokovic fan who argued Federer was not the best tennis player ever as she replied: “I don’t classify goats only on statistics alone. Rog will away be the goat to me.”
While Vonn would not have expected her opinion to spark an angry response, she was surprised to see Djokovic’s devoted fans bombard her with messages that forced her to delete her suggestion that Federer is the greatest tennis player of them all.
“GOAT or greatest of all time is a subjective title,” she wrote in a subsequent tweet.
“What makes someone great? Is it statistics? Is it records? Is it impact? Is it character? Is it all of the above? People have differences of opinion and that’s OK.
“My goat might not be your goat and there will always be a debate but opinions are just that, opinions, and everyone is entitled to them.
The post wasn’t a comparison, it was a tribute to my friend who has made a big impact in my life. Everyone just freaks out when the term goat is used. He can be my goat no matter what other people think.”
Vonn’s admiration for Federer has to be respected and her opinion of shared by millions of tennis fans around the world who were enchanted by the career of the eight-time Wimbledon champion.
Yet, as Vonn will testify, daring to mention the idea that anyone other than Djokovic is the greatest of them all can lead to some interesting replies from one a certain section of tennis support.