Novak Djokovic hoping for one more match against ‘warrior’ Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic says that he wants at least one more match with ‘warrior’ Rafael Nadal before the Spaniard hangs up his racket.
Now two players have played each other more often in the history of tennis than Nadal and Djokovic, and they have shared a stunning 46 Grand Slam singles title between them.
That rivalry is coming to an end now, with Nadal planning on making next year his last on the ATP Tour due to recent injury problems that have seen him able to play just four matches in 2023.
However, despite fears the injuries may force him to retire before making a comeback, Nadal has this week spoken with renewed positivity about a return to tennis, saying he ‘sincerely believes for the first time’ it will happen.
If it does, then Djokovic will be as happy as anyone to see his old rival back across the net.
“I think it would be nice for the sport to have at least one more match between Nadal and me,” Djokovic told Serbian journalist Sasa Ozmo after his ATP Finals win over Hubert Hurkacz.
“That’s the biggest rivalry in terms of the amount of matches played that this sport ever had. Hopefully that can happen. He’s a big warrior.
“He’s somebody that really never gives up. With all the injuries that he had, keeps going. That’s definitely something that you have to respect and admire about him and his spirit.
Could Rafael Nadal play Novak Djokovic in first round of Australian Open?
It is genuinely highly unlikely but certainly possible that the first round of the Australian Open could throw Nadal and Djokovic together.
The reason for that is that, though it may be inconceivable to many, Nadal will not be seeded at the Australian Open. His ranking has lapsed too far now, so much so that we will need a wildcard or protected ranking just to be in the draw.
So while it is possible, a lot would need to happen before it did.
For starters, Nadal would have to actually make it to Australia. He appears to be on track to do that, although he is notoriously cautious with his recovery from injury, so it is by no means a gimme.
Then, of course, Djokovic and Nadal would need to be drawn together, which is highly unlikely. Even if they are not, Nadal will likely have to play a top player early in the competition, though.
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