Discouragement Comes Novak Djokovic’s Way as Long-Time Rival Rafael Nadal’s Uncle Drops a Truth Bomb Aimed at His US Open Run

Published 09/04/2023, 11:02 PM EDT

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Twenty years of record-breaking tennis and still each Novak Djokovic match continues to be a master class of new techniques. Remarkably, even at the twilight of his career, the Serb is still learning and adapting to become a better player. Whether playing against a veteran like Roger Federer or a young player from the current crop of players like Carlos Alcaraz, there has been one constant: his indomitable resilience. But since his breakout, a lot of things have changed. And an old foe has spoken up about them!

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As the US Open progresses, Toni Nadal, the uncle of Djokovic’s arch-rival Rafael Nadal, revealed how the 36-year-old tennis player’s life has altered significantly over time. Drawing comparisons between then and now, across the top players, Uncle Tony hardly minced his words.

Rafael Nadal’s uncle made a huge statement 

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In the ongoing US Open, the Serbian tennis player smoothly made it to the tournament’s Quarterfinals. He has stunned everyone with his dedication to adding one more major title to his name. But recently, 22-time Grand Slam champion, Nadal’s uncle shared a harsh reality check while comparing Djokovic’s current form and the player he was around 5–10 years ago.

In an interview with El Pais, he said, “The top tennis players of a few years ago were better than those of today—noticeably better and much more competitive. The current Djokovic is well below that of five or ten years ago.”

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Along with that, he made it clear that the current set of tennis players is quite different from what this sport had earlier in terms of potential. While the World No. 2 ranked tennis player claimed two titles this year, Toni Nadal believes that the 36-year-old tennis star is not even playing half the level of tennis he used to play before. Yet, Nadal gave credit where credit was due.

Disturbed by the “general lack of consistency and regularity,” he alarmed, “With the exception of Djokovic and Alcaraz, the level offered by the majority is disappointing.

In fact, the Spaniard believed that prioritizing power over precision could be a reason for this trend, making the matches less attractive to watch. “Current tennis is much more focused on hitting the ball very hard to the detriment of giving it control and this, of course, makes it very difficult to make a difference, but also to see beautiful matches,” added Nadal.

 

In fact, this is not the first time the Spanish tennis coach has talked about Novak Djokovic’s athletic potential. A few months back, during the French Open, the 62-year-old former Spanish coach also warned how the Serbian tennis player could overcome the tournament’s obstacles.

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When Toni Nadal issued a warning for Novak Djokovic

In an interview with Eurosport just before the French Open Men’s Singles semi-final clash, Toni Nadal shared some advice for the Serb that resonated with his perspectives about the current trends in tennis. In the semi-final battle, the 23-time Australian Open champion was up against another Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz.

The Spanish coach stated, “If you try to play aggressive and at high speed you will find yourself a superior opponent, but if you decide to play consistent you will need to have a very high level of precision because otherwise you will be exposed to Carlos’ winning shots. In any case, no one should rule it out.” 

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What is your take on Rafael Nadal’s uncle’s statements regarding the Serbian tennis player’s athletic potential? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Written by:

Pratishtha Prakash

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Pratishtha Prakash is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. She has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Journalism from MIT ADT University, Pune. Being a sports enthusiast, she has been following varied sports like tennis, cricket and Esports from her childhood.
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Edited by:

Mitali Dey

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