Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic ATP

Novak Djokovic makes candid admission about ‘last dance’ with Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic has admitted that he would prefer any final showdown he has with Rafael Nadal did not take place at Roland Garros.

Djokovic and Nadal have played each other more than any other two players in the history of men’s tennis.

They have faced each other across the net a remarkable 59 times, with Djokovic just shading the head-to-head 30-29.

With Nadal battling injury this year and announcing 2024 will be has last on the ATP Tour, matches between the two are becoming rarer, but Djokovic says he would like one more match with the Spaniard.

Asked where he would like his final match with Rafael Nadal to be played, Djokovic told Marca: “I think a lot of people would like it to be at Roland Garros. Why not?

“Although if you give me a choice I would say anywhere else. Roland Garros wouldn’t be bad, but Nadal is the player who has won there the most times in the history of the tournament.

“I think anywhere would be amazing for us and for the tennis world. It would be kind of like a last dance.

“I don’t know how many more times we’ll have the chance to play each other or if we’re going to play each other. I hope we do because that’s what everybody wants and I do too.”

Novak Djokovic has, at this point, broken just about every record in tennis, but he has to accept that Nadal’s tally of Roland Garros titles is beyond him.

The Serbian has three to his name, which is exceptional, but that still leaves him 11 short of Nadal, meaning he’d have to play well into his late 40s to even have a chance.

Djokovic, though, is fine with that, explaining: “I am very satisfied with everything I have achieved. I do not have to look at Rafa’s record in Paris. I have many that I’m proud of and that are part of history.

“If I were to retire right now, I could only be happy and proud of what I’ve done.”

Novak Djokovic: ‘Rafael Nadal a warrior’

Djokovic and Nadal have had a fierce rivalry, but it is also a very respectful one. And, as with almost all great sporing rivalries, as it comes to an end players get more reflective.

It’s the exact same with Djokovic and Nadal, even if they admit there is no real friendship there behind everything.

“I think it would be nice for the sport to have at least one more match between Nadal and me,” Djokovic said 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.

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.