Novak Djokovic came out clean on whom he thinks his biggest rival in tennis is. He also shed light on the younger generation catching up to them and competing at their level.
Ever since the retirement of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been the fiercest and the marquee rivalry in tennis. While the Serbian currently leads the rivalry with 24 Grand Slams, Nadal isn’t much behind with 22 of his own and two Olympic Golds to tally the numbers.
However, there has been a rise of young stars and the talent pool in the sport who are hungry and determined to leave a mark in the sport just like Novak and Nadal have. Carlos Alcaraz, World No. 2, and Daniil Medvedev, World No. 3 are the two stars who are projected as the next big thing in tennis.
Although the downfall of the Nadal and Novak rivalry is inevitable, Novak still believes that there is no one other than the ‘King of Clay’ himself, who will always be his main rival.
In an interview with Tennis TV, Djokovic admitted to the fact that Nadal will be his ‘biggest’ rival until one of them finally retires.
“I can’t take anybody else but Nadal as my biggest rival as long as Nadal is playing, as long as I’m playing, Nadal is always my biggest rival regardless of the rankings or what’s going on the tour, just because of the history of our rivalry and everything.”
He added to his belief by weighing in on the rising competition from the younger generation of tennis stars led by Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.
“Of course, I have tons of respect for Alcaraz, you know, he just came on the tour last couple of years, and some other players that are out there like Medvedev, I had some great match-ups with him that you know, Nadal and myself, we go back a long time, so definitely, he comes in front.”
What lies ahead for the rivalry of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Is there hope left for them to face each other one last time?
As the curtains close to one of the greatest rivalries in the history of Men’s tennis, the question arises; Can we see them face against each other one more time?
2006-2022, for 16 years straight, the tennis world has witnessed at least one encounter between these two, however, the streak broke in 2023. Nadal is on the cusp of retiring and has given some hints here and there that this might be his last season.
Rafa’s continuous struggle with injuries has made him sit out multiple tournaments in the past season. A minor tear in his muscles in Brisbane International denied us, the fans of seeing him compete in Australia again. He is set to return either in Qatar or start afresh in the clay season.
If all goes well, we might be able to see this rivalry once again, but if it doesn’t, it will remain one of the most legendary battles ever seen between the two ends of a tennis court.