Novak Djokovic - US Open 2023 and Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic ‘is the best in history’ according to Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic has equalled and surpassed Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam tally this year, and the Spaniard has admitted that his rival is statistically ‘the best in history’.

Djokovic won a record 24th major at the US Open, moving two majors ahead of Nadal, who was in-fact leading the men’s singles race when he picked up his hip injury in a second round defeat at the Australian Open this year.

When speaking to Spanish newspaper AS, Nadal admitted that when it comes to numbers Djokovic is ‘indisputably’ better, “I believe that numbers are numbers and statistics are statistics. In that sense, I think he (Djokovic) has better numbers than mine and that is indisputable.”

The 37-year-old continued, “This is the truth. The rest are tastes, inspiration, sensations that one or the other may transmit to you, that you may like one or the other more. I think that with respect to titles, Djokovic is the best in history and there is nothing to discuss about that.

“As always, everyone can see the story as they wish, saying that I suffered many injuries. Bad luck for me or bad luck that I had my body this way. He has had another one and in some ways that is also part of the sport. I congratulate him for everything he is achieving and it doesn’t cause me any kind of frustration.”

Djokovic has been battling with Alcaraz for the No.1 ranking through the entirety of 2023, and the 20-year-old has inflicted the Serb’s only defeat at a major this year in the Wimbledon final.

And Nadal has suggested that Alcaraz and Djokovic are a level above the rest of the tour, “He [Alcaraz] has been the world number one until recently. Although he’s very young right now, practically the only rival I see for him is Djokovic.”

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 that Nadal was talking about between him and Djokovic:

Novak Djokovic 

Career-high: No.1 (392 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)


Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: 30-29

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

 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB

 Social >> FacebookTwitter & YouTube

 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine

 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner 

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.