“Somehow its never been enough” Rafael Nadal reveals that his rivalry with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic has propelled their longevity
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (Image via Instagram)
Rafael Nadal had a powerful run in 2022. He picked 4 titles this year, which included 2 Grand Slams (Australian Open and Roland Garros) bringing up his tally to 22 – an all-time record. This puts him 1 ahead of Novak Djokovic, and 2 ahead of Roger Federer. Two more titles were collected by Rafa in Melbourne and Acapulco. His win-loss record this year stands at 39-8.
Rafa had participated in Laver Cup, where he partnered up with Roger Federer in the doubles event. That match was the last professional match of the Swiss Maestro’s illustrious career, and Rafa revealed later that he did not plan to play in the tournament due to his injuries, and only relented at the behest of Roger. The following day, he retired from the tournament citing ‘personal reasons’. Later that month, along with his wife Xisca, he welcomed their first child, a boy, into this world.
Rafa played his last event of the year at ATP Finals. He ended the year as World No. 2 and as the oldest year-end top-2 player.
Currently, the Spaniard is on a tour of South America, entertaining fans with a series of exhibition matches. At his Bogota stop, Nadal spoke to Eurosport at length about the longevity of his career and its direct correlation to Federer and Djokovic.
‘We’ve been pushing eachother for years’ – Rafael Nadal on his longtime rivals Roger and Novak
The Big 3 of tennis are inextricably linked. You cannot speak of or to one without the rest two coming up in the conversation spontaneously. And it’s for good reason. The trio pushed each other to their limits, which in turn raised the standards of men’s tennis. And each of them realizes and acknowledges this fact. Time and again they have credited each other for the heights of their respective success. Recently, Rafa reiterated this.
When asked about the future of his career vis-a-vis his injuries, Nadal said “What may happen in the future I don’t know, I don’t know the consequences that may happen, time will tell. There are several factors why we are playing longer at an advanced age. One is medicine and the professionalization of the entire sport which means that people have a more extensive team, and there is more knowledge of the things that help to lengthen careers.”
He then added “And there is another thing: I think Roger, Novak, and I have been pushing each other, and somehow it’s never been enough, we’ve always had to make another effort. The competition [between us] has taken us to extreme mental and tennis levels, and this is one of the main reasons why we have continued for so long.”