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Novak Djokovic: ‘What Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are doing is epic’

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The domination of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has lasted for nearly two decades. The Big 3 have won 56 of the last 67 Slams played, leaving the crumbs to their rivals. Stan Wawrinka’s extraordinary feat at the 2016 US Open represents the latest triumph in a Major of a player unrelated to the fabulous trio.

Novak and Rafa

The Swiss Maestro still leads the all-time ranking at 20 Slam, closely followed by the Spanish (19) and the Serbian (17), who won the only Major staged so far (the Australian Open) . In a recent Tennis Channel interview, the World number 1 described his relationship with Federer and Nadal, based on mutual respect that goes beyond rivalry on the court.

Djokovic: ‘Federer and Nadal are legends’
“What Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are doing is epic. Both of them are legends. They do inspire me and I have said this a million times. They made me the player I am today and they still continue to inspire and motivate me to be even better” – the 17 time Grand Slam champion said.

“I think theses rivalries that we have had over the years are great and have been a great promotion to our sport. They are good for tennis in general and also for the upcoming generation,” Novak Djokovic added. “Hopefully we give a positive example and inspire the younger guys to be the best they can possibly be.”

The Serbian champion also talked about how he is chasing the Slam record: “I like to have my long-term goals and be devoted to them, but at the same time I want my daily routine, my weekly routine, my goals for a season to be well-defined.

I need this balance to understand what is best for me and my team. I love this sport and I’m very passionate and devoted to it. As long as I have the passion and the flair in me I am going to keep going.” The “GOAT” (greatest of all time) debate in men’s tennis has divided opinions in the last decade and still remains a h*t topic as the triumvirate continue to dominate the field, sharing the last 13 Grand Slam titles among them.

Meanwhile, the Unites States Tennis Association (USTA) announced this week that the U.S. Open would go ahead at the end of August without fans (and media) and with strict health protocols in place.

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“Good Person”: Rafael Nadal Opens up on His Relationship With Rival Novak Djokovic

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Many tennis fans wonder how Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic get along outside the tennis court. Their conduct towards each other on the tennis court is always respectful, and that translates outside the court as well, as admitted by Nadal. The Spaniard spoke about his relationship with Djokovic, whom he called a good person.

“I have a good relationship with him. Is a good person. We must relativize things between us,”  Nadal said, in a recent interview, throwing light on his camaraderie with Djokovic.

There was also speculation among fans as to what Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic spoke about at the end of their French Open 2020 final. Interestingly, it was one of the most one-sided battles they have played over the years. However, Nadal said that Djokovic, with whom he shares a strong relationship, simply congratulated him and nothing more.

Rafael Nadal understands why Novak Djokovic did not say much

I could not talk to him. He congratulated me on the track and that’s it. It is normal,” Nadal said. He said he understands that Djokovic was not in a mood to talk, as no one usually is, after a heartbreaking loss.

When you lose a game like that, you don’t really want to talk. I understand it,” Nadal added.

Nadal avenged his one-sided loss in the 2019 Australian Open final against Djokovic. The two men also shared a respectful exchange during the trophy ceremony post their match. Nadal lauded Djokovic and said he hopes to keep facing him, further adding to their already great rivalry.

What you’re doing in tennis is very very special. Hope to keep facing you [Djokovic] on the court for the next couple of years,” Nadal said to Djokovic.

The mutual respect between the two stars

Despite not having a conversation with Nadal after the match, Djokovic spoke highly of Nadal in his post-match presser. Djokovic highlighted why Nadal is a great champion. He also admitted that it was one of those days where Nadal was simply the better player and there was not much he could do to tame the ‘King of Clay’.

I was also thinking that these conditions are more favorable to me. I was feeling great throughout the tournament playing. […] But, yeah, I mean, Rafa has proven everybody wrong. That’s why he’s a great champion. He just played a fantastic match today,” he said.

The two champions are expected to resume their rivalry at the ATP Finals next month. While they will not face each other in the Round Robin stage, the anticipation of another Nadal-Djokovic final is already running high.

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