The 24-time legend looks forward to facing Nadal at least one more time.
By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday November 16, 2023
With news of Rafael Nadal’s comeback breaking yesterday, Novak Djokovic has offered his thoughts on the impending return of the 22-time major champion, who just so happens to be his greatest rival.
Speaking in Turin, after defeating Hubert Hurkacz in round robin play, the World No.1 says he welcomes a 60th episode of the epic rivalry that initially commenced more than 17 years ago, at Roland-Garros in Paris.
“I think it would be nice for the sport to have at least one more match between Nadal and me,” he said. “That’s the biggest rivalry in terms of the amount of matches played that this sport ever had. Hopefully that can happen.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 16, 2023
Nadal was quoted as saying he will definitely play in 2024 by the ATP this week. The Spaniard says he will make an announcement in the coming week with more specific plans. 37-year-old Nadal has been out since the 2023 Australian Open, and underwent a surgery to his hip flexor tendon.
Djokovic holds the 30-29 lifetime edge over the Spaniard. The pair last met in the quarterfinals at Roland-Garros with the Spaniard edging Djokovic in four sets.
The two legends have met 18 times at the majors (Nadal leads 11-7), and nine times in major finals (Nadal leads 5-4). “He’s a big warrior,” Djokovic said. “He’s somebody that really never gives up. With all the injuries that he had, keeps going. That’s definitely something that you have to respect and admire about him and his spirit.
“For the world of tennis, no doubt that it’s amazing news that he’ll be back.”