Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Australian Open Roland Garros combo

Novak Djokovic motivated by ‘historic’ Rafael Nadal rivalry

Novak Djokovic has suggested that his rivalry with Rafael Nadal helps fuel his motivation for more success, as he reaches a 33rd Grand Slam final.

Only Chris Evert (34) has been in more major finals than Djokovic, who will aim to equal his great rival Nadal with a 22nd Grand Slam title on Sunday.

The 35-year-old fell two majors behind Nadal last year, after the Spaniard won both the Australian Open and Roland Garros, before pulling one back at Wimbledon.

Djokovic spoke about how proud he was to have had so many great moments in the sport, “It’s amazing. I mean, it feels like that every match is a historic match at this moment, particularly for Rafa and myself.”

“I think we are very privileged to be in this position, both him and I… pushing each other to the limit to see how far one or the other can go.”

The Serb also spoke about how his drive to break records is what keeps him playing year after year, “I’m trying to balance things out between the professional goals that I have and it’s always high school for me, you know, trying to reach another title.”

“I have had plenty of success in Australia, so that obviously feeds on my motivation and inspiration always to perform at my best, knowing if I’ve done so well in the past.”

However, he added that it was not the only thing that keeps him playing the sport, “Also, kind of a private mission of why I keep on playing tennis, which is personal, which is joy and love for the sport and passion really with my family, my closest people in my life… and hopefully sharing good vibes with people watching me play.”

Djokovic will turn his head back to the records in two days time when he plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open final.

The two have shared the court on 12 occasions, with the Greek only winning twice. It is also a rematch of Tsitsipas’ only other Grand Slam final, at Roland Garros, when Djokovic pegged him back from two sets up.

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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.