'Not Necessarily Friends, But Respect Each Other': Djokovic On Relationship With Nadal

'Not Necessarily Friends, But Respect Each Other': Djokovic On Relationship With Nadal

by Nurein Ahmed

Novak Djokovic was forthright when he spoke about his relationship with longtime rival Rafael Nadal, saying they are not "necessarily friends" but have utmost respect for one another.

The Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal rivalry is the most prolific in men's tennis in the Open Era and one of most the fiercely contested duels in history. Between 2006 and 2022, they played at least one competitive match on tour. Djokovic leads the head-to-head 30-29.

Djokovic and Nadal have accounted for 46 of the last 76 Grand Slams since 2005, with the Serbian winning a men's record 24 titles, and Nadal not far off with 22. While Djokovic has stood out as the greatest in the sport, Nadal has earned his claim as the greatest clay-court player of all time, having won Roland Garros, remarkably, on 14 occasions.

Djokovic and Nadal have enjoyed a special relationship both on and off the court, but not close enough for both players to acknowledge that they are the best of friends away from the tour. Their relationship has a professional tone, and both have never shied away from speaking about it.

Djokovic, 36, caught up with the French TV show C a vous during his stay in Paris where he is preparing to play at this week's Paris Masters. The Belgrade native has the highest respect for his great rival but fell short of proclaiming each other as friends.

"We’re not necessarily friends, but we do have great respect for each other, and I hope - I speak on my behalf - that after our careers, we can share drinks on the beach and talk about life (smiling)."

Djokovic on his relationship with Nadal

Djokovic is statistically the best tennis player, boasting some astronomical numbers, but has never declared himself as the GOAT, leaving that discourse to the fans and the media.

Even though Nadal is intending to play next year and challenge for the Slams, he has already made the pronouncement that Djokovic is the greatest tennis player due to his "indisputable statistics."


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