Watching tennis with less noise and no real fan presence is not ideal, but it does make a few things more obvious. Sliding on hard courts used to seem insane. More and more players can do it. Roger Federer’s squash shots of 2004 are not uncommon to see when a player is streched today. I think the GOAT debates revolve around at least two sepparate but related questions:
- Who accomplished the most?
- Who played at the highest level?
Longevity could factor in at some level as well. Still, it seems likely that the first truly great post Big 3 champion on the men’s tour and the first truly great post-Serena champion will be the answer to the 2nd question simply due to how players on each tour adapt over time to new shots, new strategies, and new tactics. Throw in ever improving sports medicine, training methods, and equipment, and the general greatest level of play should be assigned to the most recent dominant champion.
Post Script – By my own logic the current answers to the second question are Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.