Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022

Rafael Nadal refuses to enter GOAT debate after congratulatory messages from Federer and Djokovic

Rafael Nadal doesn’t feel it matters who has the most Slams and has said he is  “very proud” of his rivalry with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as they are “very respectful of each other.”

Nadal made history after winning the Australian Open final as his second ‘Happy Slam’ title saw him become the first player to reach 21 Grand Slams, pipping Federer and Djokovic to such a monumental achievement.

The Spaniard Nadal came from two sets to love down against US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in a behemoth 5 hour and 24 minute thriller. Nadal also stopped World number two Medvedev from becoming the first player in the Open Era to win consecutive Slams.

Over the past two decades, Nadal has been competing with Federer and Djokovic in the hunt to become the most successful male player of all time.

Despite competing for such an accolade, Swiss maestro Federer and Serbian icon Djokovic both offered Nadal classy congratulatory messages via social media for his remarkable triumph.

Federer said he feels “proud to share this era” with Nadal, whilst Djokovic hailed the Spanish great’s “fighting spirit.”

This Morning Nadal told reporters in Australia “we are always very respectful of each other. I think we treat this rivalry in a positive way throughout our careers.

“Have I had a personal message from Novak or Roger? I have received plenty of messages.

“I am sorry I have not been able yet to reply to every one, you can imagine.

“But I really feel very proud about the way that we managed our rivalry during all our careers.

“At the end of the day it’s just a game, and in some way we achieved more than what we ever dreamed when we were kids, so at the end, it’s not the fact that one has 21 and the others have 20.

“Or one has 23 and the others have 21. We have done great things for our sport and we have achieved our dreams, and we enjoy it, no?

“I feel lucky to be part of this era, that has been very special.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.