Djokovic 'most disappointed' by Nadal's absence according to Wilander

Djokovic 'most disappointed' by Nadal's absence according to Wilander

by Balasz Virag

Mats Wilander believes that Rafael Nadal's absence from Roland Garros has left Novak Djokovic disappointed.

It's a curious way to phrase things as most players would be probably relieved that Nadal is not playing at Roland Garros. No player has been as dominant at the event as Nadal has been in the past and he actually defeated Djokovic at last year's event.

That's what makes this Wilander comment so interesting even though Djokovic himself described Nadal missing the event as not the ideal outcome. For Wilander, it's mostly down to the competitiveness of such legendary players and the fact that Djokovic could have beaten Nadal on the court while taking the 23rd away from him.

I think that in a way, you're disappointed maybe more than anything that you don't get to play Rafa somewhere. And I would think for Novak Djokovic, he’s most probably the most disappointed player in the whole tournament. Because surely he would like to win his 23rd - his third French Open - by beating Rafa Nadal along the way.

Put into perspective it makes sense as Nadal is his greatest rival and with both sitting at 22 grand slams right now, the showdown in Paris would have been an epic one for everyone involved. It won't happen on the court but Djokovic could still get that elusive number 23 that would put him ahead of everyone else. Holger Rune certainly thinks that he'll do it but we'll see what happens.

For Wilander it would be quite poetic that both end with the same amount of grand slams to complete the triple GOAT narrative. There will always be need to proclaim one of the three as the greatest of all time but for many all three are very worthy of it.

I mean, I've always said it. I hope in many ways that Rafa and Novak end up on the same number of Grand Slams, and then Roger Federer will be mentioned in the same sentence as the greatest ever anyway.


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