Djokovic defeats Nadal Roland Garros 2021

Novak Djokovic hopes Rafael Nadal can play Roland Garros ‘for the sake of all tennis’

Novak Djokovic has reacted to Rafael Nadal’s Monte Carlo Masters withdrawal, with the world No.1 revealing that he hopes his biggest rival can ‘play at least one more tournament before he retires’.

Djokovic is currently in Monte Carlo for the first Masters 1000 event of the clay court season this year, but record 11-time champion Nadal is not after announcing that he is still unable to compete.

When speaking to media ahead of the tournament, Djokovic admitted that he is hoping Nadal can return to the tour, “As a tennis fan I want him to play at least one more tournament before he retires. He was saying that this might be his last season, but he just played one tournament in Brisbane but hasn’t played since.”

The 24-time major winner continued, “We travelled together to America. I saw him at Indian Wells, he was trying his best to play. It’s his favourite surface. We all know what he’s done on clay in his career, particularly Roland-Garros. That’s his goal, we all know that, he’s been saying it.

“For the sake of all tennis and Roland-Garros in particular, we hope that he can play there. It would be great to have another great encounter.”

Nadal is still scheduled to compete at the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Masters in the coming weeks, but it is currently unclear as to how likely this is, in what has been suggested to be the final season of his career.

Inside the baseline…

Novak Djokovic wishing Rafael Nadal to comeback just shows that although they are fierce rivals, there is also great respect between the pair. It is really hard to know how likely Nadal’s comeback is, as it appears that serving is the current issue for the Spaniard, which is an essential shot to have if he is wanting to compete at the top level.

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Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

Djokovic and Nadal have had one of the biggest rivalries in tennis history, and we at Tennishead wanted to lookback on their overall head-to-head compared to their numerous meetings on the dirt:

Djokovic vs Nadal Overall Head-to-head: 30-29

Djokovic vs Nadal on Clay: 8-20

Djokovic vs Nadal at Roland Garros: 2-8

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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.