Novak Djokovic LAUDS Rafael Nadal’s longevity in the sport despite having persistent injury scares throughout his career

Djokovic and Nadal have a 59-match hard-fought rivalry.


Novak Djokovic LAUDS Rafael Nadal’s longevity in the sport despite having persistent injury scares throughout his career

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (Image via CNN)

If the sport has given you everything you have today, you don’t want an injury to take it away from you. A live example of that from the tennis world is Rafael Nadal. People from the very start of his career claimed that he may not have many years on the tour. However, Nadal is cut from a different cloth. He made sure he didn’t go down easily. Once again, he is going through a test of injuries that has forced him to pull out of the 2023 French Open.

Nadal’s friend and greatest rival in terms of competitiveness in their head-to-head, Novak Djokovic, came out recently and spoke at length about the Spaniard’s ability to fight back from adversity.

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“A lot of people were debating on how long he’d play because of his injuries the past 10 years. A lot of people retired him 10 years ago but he kept going, which is something I respect and admire.. he’s really an exemplary for that,” said the Serb.

Djokovic certainly admires Nadal’s quality of never giving up in the toughest moments. On numerous occasions, he has come out saying that not many can dream of being Rafael Nadal. That statement most days holds true, as that grit is not easily attainable. It comes from within.

Related: “It could be a dream,” Carlos Alcaraz BLOOMS at the prospect of playing doubles with idol Rafael Nadal at the 2024 Paris Olympics

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French Open Review: Nadal-Djokovic Rivalry

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (Image via Man's World India)
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (Image via Man’s World India)

A 59-match hard-fought rivalry. Djokovic barely leads 30-29. It’s the most competitive rivalry in the history of the sport by far. The fact that both players hated to lose against one another gave birth to this head-to-head. As fans approach the 2023 edition of the Roland Garros, let’s look at the 10 games out of 59 that took place in Paris.

Nadal dominant as ever on the dirt leads 8-2. However, what the scoreline doesn’t show is how much he had to dig to win those matches. The first match they ever played at the French Open was, in fact, the first match they ever played. 2006, Nadal already having a Grand Slam under his belt, was ready to destroy the newcomer Serb. The first two sets went to Nadal, and the Serb had to retire as he couldn’t take the intensity.

The next two years saw Nadal giving Djokovic the same treatment on the same court. However, this made the Serb determined to change the result on the clay. 2012 final, he finally managed to take a set and things were going in the right direction. The 2013 semifinals saw both play one of the greatest matches ever. Djokovic won two sets this time around. However, Nadal took the match 9-7 in the fifth. It finally came in 2015 for the Serb. He, by the,n became a much better player on the dirt and knocked Nadal out in straight sets.

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After a 5 years wait, both once again met in the Final in Paris. Nadal had to set the record straight. He thrashed Djokovic in hardly less than 2 hours. The Serb bounced back the very next year and came from a set down to win the semi-final. 2022 saw them compete once again. A 4-hour 4 sets drainer as they battled it out. Nadal finally got the throne back as he pipped Djokovic for the 8th time in Paris.

It’s a pity that both won’t be able to compete this time with Nadal’s injury pull-out. However, fans will pray that they get to see them once more facing off against each other.

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