Djokovic 'Hopes To Play' Nadal 'At Least One More Time Before He Retires'

Djokovic 'Hopes To Play' Nadal 'At Least One More Time Before He Retires'

by Zachary Wimer

Novak Djokovic won't play at the Madrid Open this year, but he's still hoping to face Rafael Nadal again before the Spaniard retires.

The way Nadal's story unfolded in recent weeks, it seems like 2024 will surely be his last season. There is obviously a chance for things to change, but as things stand now, this is going to be the Spaniard's last season on the ATP Tour.

That saddens many people, including Djokovic, who still hopes to play his old rival at least once more on a tennis court. The Serbian could have potentially played Nadal this week in Madrid, but he withdrew from the event.

The feeling is surely mutual for Nadal, and the matchup is something special. He considers the 22-time major winner his greatest rival, so playing against him is always something memorable for Djokovic.

"I have a lot of respect for a legend like him, with whom I hope to be able to play at least one more time before he retires. I have a lot of respect for Rafa, he is a good person and a legend of our sport, he is my most important rival. In Australia, I said I hoped to see him in one or two tournaments and I hope to do that."

Djokovic on Nadal

Djokovic was in Madrid this week for the Laureus Sports Awards, where he was named Sportsman of the Year for the fifth time in his career. At the awards, he touched upon many topics, including Nadal, his career, rivalries, and life in general.

It seems he plans to return to the tennis courts at the Italian Open in Rome, where he's been amazing in the past. He played only one clay event so far this year, and it's clear that ahead of the clay-court major, he will want to play at least one more.


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