Rafael Nadal, the 22-time Grand Slam champion, has opened up about his rival Novak Djokovic’s quest to surpass him in the all-time list of major winners. Nadal said that he thinks Djokovic is more concerned about that than him, and that he is not disappointed with his own achievements.
Novak Djokovic leads the Grand Slam race with 24 titles after winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open this year. Rafael Nadal holds the second place in the race with 22 titles, Roger Federer is 3rd after retiring from professional tennis with 20 titles
In an interview with the Spanish TV channel Movistar Plus+, Rafa revealed his thoughts on Djokovic’s dominance in 2023, when the Serbian won three out of four Grand Slams and reached 24 titles, two more than Nadal and four more than the retired Roger Federer.
I think Novak is more concerned about that. It would be a big disappointment for him not to succeed. That’s why he’s the best and has won 24 Slams.
He also spoke out on his attitude towards the Grand Slam title race.
I’m not disappointed for a simple reason – I know I did the maximum within my capabilities. It’s impossible to be disappointed after winning 22 Slams
Nadal and Djokovic last met in the 2022 Roland Garros quarterfinals. Rafa beat the Serb with a score of 6:2, 4:6, 6:2, 7:6 (4). Novak has a positive Head2Head against the Spaniard (30-29), he’s just one of the two players in history (alongside Dustin Brown) with such an achievement
Nadal’s struggles in 2023
Nadal played just 4 matches in 2023 and won only one. He lost both his matches at the United Cup (against Cameron Norrie and Alex De Minaur), then he got eliminated from the Australian Open by Mackenzie McDonald in the second round
Rafa’s 2023 season has been nothing but a big disappointment due to multiple injuries. In May the Spaniard gathered a press-conference, where he announced he won’t be back on court until 2024. In the fresh Movistar Plus+ interview, he also shared some details on his recovery process.
Do I live without pain? No, the problems with my foot remain, sometimes it hurts a lot, it doesn’t let me live peacefully. Sometimes it is difficult for me to go down the stairs at home. Now I feel better – let’s say I control the pain. But I have suspended my career because of the iliopsoas muscle.
Rafa is expected to return to action at the Australian Open-2024. The Spaniard has previously announced that the 2024 season will most likely be his last year in professional tennis