“I got emotional!” Novak Djokovic reveals he contemplated his retirement decision after Rafael Nadal revealed 2024 could be his last year on tour
Novak Djokovic gives an emotional message hearing Rafael Nadal's plans to retire next year.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic (Credits: French Open)
Serbian World No. 3 Novak Djokovic has his say about his retirement plans following Rafael Nadal’s official retirement announcement. As per the tennis giant himself, the 2024 season will be his last on the tour. The Big 3, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, have dominated the circuit for almost two decades. With Federer’s retirement last year and Nadal’s plans for next year, the dominant period of the Big 3 is eventually coming to an end.
As per Djokovic, “When he announced that 2024 would be his last, I felt that part of me would leave with him too. He was one of bigger motivational factors in my career, it made me reflecton on my career and I felt emotional.”
Djokovic further pointed out that when Nadal leaves, a part of him will be leaving too. With that being said, there is no denying the fact that a rival’s presence on the court is extremely important for a player to push his limits. Nadal had a similar thought when the Swiss maestro retired from the circuit the previous year.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic: The Big-3 on-court rivalry
The big 3 has been dominating the circuit for almost two decades, starting in 2004. Their iconic rivalry with each other has always taken center stage at the business end of all the most important tournaments. There was a time when Roger Federer was invincible and he was ruling the tennis courts all over the world. The peak he had between 2004 and 2007 still makes him relevant in the GOAT debate despite going below Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in most of the stats.
It seemed like Nadal was a secret project to take down Federer. He single-handedly stopped the dominance of the Swiss legend in the early years. The ‘Fedal’ rivalry took a new high when Federer finally defeated Nadal in a Grand Slam match in the 2017 Australian Open final.
He had to wait for 10 years to finally beat Nadal in a slam match after the 2007 Wimbledon final, and this was the first time he solved the Nadal puzzle outside a grass court in a slam match. Their head-to-head still favors Nadal, 24-16 overall and 10-4 in slam matches, but Federer coped with Nadal during the final years and beat him in 2 out of their last 3 slam matches.
Though Novak Djokovic has already broken most tennis records, he was never able to top the Grand Slam race alone. By clinching Wimbledon 2021, he was able to reach the top, but he shared the top spot with his biggest rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
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