Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Djokovic says ‘it’s nice’ to share a draw again with ‘greatest rival’ Rafael Nadal

World number one Novak Djokovic has stated “it’s nice” that he is in the same draw as his “greatest rival of all time” Rafael Nadal after nearly one full year of not playing in the same tournament. 

Both players have gone through difficult and turbulent periods within their respective careers over the last 12 months.

As well as suffer a tough defeat in the US Open final in 2021 where he missed out on holding all four Slams at once, Djokovic has also only been able to play three tournaments all season due to his vaccination status.

As a result of being unvaccinated, Djokovic was deported from Australia and unable to compete at the Major in January and was also forced to miss out on the United States hard court swing in March. 

Coming into 2022, Rafael Nadal had been was injured for the last 5 months of 2021 and wasn’t even sure when he was going to be able to return. He even admitted that he was dealing with the injury on a ‘day by day’ basis during the Australian Open.  

Despite making the best start to a season he has ever had in his career, Rafael Nadal’s fantastic 20-1 run was brought to a halt due to a rib injury he sustained at the Indian Wells Masters in March, sidelining him for six weeks. 

Now, with Covid-19 restrictions lifting in Spain and Nadal confirmed to play in Madrid this week, it means it is the first time since Roland Garros last year that Djokovic and Nadal will be competing in the same tournament.

Djokovic, who was unaware of the fact, revealed how much Nadal’s presence in the same draw actually affects him.

Speaking following his opening match win against Gael Monfils, the Serb told reporters, “Of course, it affects, because he’s my greatest rival of all time.

“You’re right. I mean, I wasn’t thinking about this, but we have not been in the same draw for a while. You know, things are changing.

“We have young players, and we are both trying to do our best to compete for the top spots of the world. I think we are still going strong, so it’s nice to see that.”

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