Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal exclusive Masters milestone

Novak Djokovic admits Rafael Nadal ‘is not really a friend’

Novak Djokovic has revealed that he doesn’t really have a personal relationship with rival Rafael Nadal, but would like to ‘have a drink on the beach’ with him following retirement.

Djokovic is set to return to competitive action at the Paris Masters this week, after taking over a month break from the ATP Tour.

And he has spoken to French TV show ‘C a vous’ about his relationship with rival Nadal, “Rafael Nadal is a very special player for me. He’s not really my friend but we have respect for each other. I hope that after our career we can have a drink on the beach, talk about life.”

The Serb has consistently claimed that Nadal will be always be his biggest rival until he retires, but the Spaniard has not really been a feature in the 2023 tennis season.

After suffering a psoas tear in his second round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open, Nadal has been unable to return and has since fallen outside the top 200 for the first time since 2002.

Nadal had arthroscopic surgery back in July and has began practicing on court, with the 37-year-old aiming to return at the Melbourne major at the beginning of next year.

Inside the baseline…

Fans main hope will be to see Nadal back feeling pain free, as he gears up to play what is potentially going to be his final season in 2024. However, the wider tennis audience will be praying for more Djokovic-Nadal matches, especially with the Paris Olympics taking place at Roland Garros next year.

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Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

The age old debate in men’s tennis has been about who is the GOAT, and we at Tennishead wanted to compare the numbers between Djokovic and Nadal:

Novak Djokovic 

Career-high: No.1 (397 weeks*)

ATP titles: 96

Grand Slam titles: 24

ATP Masters 1000 titles: 39

Olympic medals: 1 (Singles Bronze – 2008)

ATP Finals titles: 6 (2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2022)

Davis Cup titles: 1 (2010)

*Currently the ATP No.1

Rafael Nadal 

Career-high: No.1 (209 weeks)

ATP titles: 92

Grand Slam titles: 22

ATP Masters 1000 titles: 36

Olympic medals: 2 (Singles Gold – 2008, Doubles Gold – 2016)

ATP Finals titles: 0 (Best result: Final – 2010 & 2013)

Davis Cup titles: 5 (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2019)


Djokovic vs Nadal: 30-29

Most recent meeting: Nadal beat Djokovic, 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6(4) (Roland Garros 2022 Quarter-final)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.