Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal ‘will be dangerous at Roland Garros’ claims Djokovic’s coach

Rafael Nadal has been out of action for almost the entirety of 2023, but Novak Djokovic’s coach believes that the Spaniard will still be ‘dangerous’ for his planned comeback next year.

Nadal obtained the psoas injury that has kept him out since January in a second round defeat at the Australian Open to Mackenzie McDonald.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has since fallen outside the world’s top 200, and was forced to miss Roland Garros for the first time since 2004.

As a result, he was surpassed at the top of the men’s singles Grand Slam charts by Djokovic, who won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open this year.

However, Nadal has recently been releasing footage for his planned return to the ATP Tour, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery back in July.

And his biggest rivals coach, Goran Ivanisevic, has had his say on Nadal’s prospects for a self-proclaimed potential final year on tour, “It’s the best news for world tennis right now if he comes back. That’s all well and good, but we still have to wait for Nadal to say it. Only then can we be sure of a return and, at least for another year, the continuation of the great rivalry with Novak.”

The 2001 Wimbledon champion continued, “I’m convinced Nadal will be fine, he wouldn’t come back if he didn’t feel ready, and I’m convinced he’ll be dangerous at Roland-Garros.

“In fact, he’ll be the most dangerous because nobody has been as dominant as him at Roland-Garros, and it’s possible that in the year of the Olympics, he’ll be aiming for the double crown in Paris.”

Although Nadal has recently had to deny Australian Open tournament director’s Craig Tiley confirmation that he will be in Melbourne next year, the two-time champion has admitted that his aim is to be back for the first major of 2024.

Inside the baseline…

No-one, including Nadal, can know how things are going to play out for the Mallorcan next year. However, what can be said is that if Nadal is fit, he will always be a threat at Roland Garros and potentially even the favourite. As Djokovic’s coach, Ivanisevic will be fully aware of this and would not be naive enough to rule his player’s ‘biggest rival’ out.

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Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic

The age old debate in men’s tennis has been about who is the GOAT, and we at Tennishead wanted to compare the numbers between Nadal and Djokovic:

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 

Career-high: No.1 (396 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 vs Novak Djokovic: 29-30

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

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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.