The rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal is the biggest headliner in all of tennis even today. The fierce competitors have often praised each other’s games and accomplishments. However, Novak Djokovic made a big revelation on what their off-court relationship looks like.
In an episode of the French TV show C à vous, Novak opens up on a bunch of interesting topics, one of them being his kinship with Spanish rival Rafael Nadal.
He talked about how he respects Nadal’s game and considers him a very special player. However, he also mentions that they are not really ‘friends’ but he would like to hang out with the Spaniard in the future. He hopes to spend time with him on a beach to talk about life and more.
“Rafael Nadal is a very special player for me, he’s not really my friend, but we have respect for each other. I hope that after our career, we can have a drink on the beach, talk about life.”
"Rafael Nadal est un joueur très spécial pour moi, ce n'est pas trop mon ami mais on a du respect l’un pour l’autre. J'espère qu'après notre carrière, on pourra se faire un verre sur la plage, parler de la vie."— C à vous (@cavousf5) October 30, 2023
Nadal/Djokovic, adversité ou amitié : @DjokerNole dans #CàVous pic.twitter.com/iDLetAUTTK
Although Novak mentions that he and Nadal aren’t friends, the sheer number of memories they have with each other does make them inseparable in tennis talks. Their fearsome battles on the court have delivered some all-timers over the decades they have faced off against each other.
How do Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s tennis resume line up against each other?
The Novak-Nadal rivalry is probably the greatest on-court rivalry in the world of tennis. From the sheer number of matches played against each other, the extraordinary number of accomplishments and titles, and some truly iconic moments, this rivalry has delivered on all corners possible.
We reflect on some stats and moments to see how generational this rivalry has been.
The rivals combined have the most number of Grand Slam trophies than any other duo in the history of men’s tennis. While the current World No.1, Novak has 24 Grand Slam titles to his name, Nadal owns 22 of his own. They have finished at the top of year-end rankings for a combined 13 seasons.
The dynamics of this match-up have swung quite a bit in these years. While the initial seasons were owned by Nadal, the latter ones have been dominated by Novak.
Their first major finals was back in 2010 at the US Open which was won by Nadal. However, just one year later Novak would have his revenge as he became the first Serbian to win a title at Wimbledon. Their 2012 finals match-up at the Australian Open is perhaps the greatest match in the history of Grand Slam finals. The match went on for a whopping 5 hours and 53 minutes. Djokovic would go on to defeat Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5–7), 7–5 to capture his third Australian Open title.
This rivalry has had many more such matches and iconic moments to look back on. Tennis fans should be grateful to have witnessed both of these legends giving their all and playing at the highest level for such a long time.