‘Hope We Can Play Golf as Friends’ – Novak Djokovic Wants to Transcend His Tennis Rivalry With Rafael Nadal

Published 05/14/2022, 9:03 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic with Spain’s Rafael Nadal before their semi final match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Slowly and steadily, world no.1 Novak Djokovic is finding his feet back on the ATP tour this year as he reached yet another semi-final at the Italian Open. Yesterday, he defeated  Felix Auger Aliassime in a gritty match to reach the semis at three consecutive tournaments. For all that had happened to him in Australia, it appears that the Serb has come out of it and is now focused on playing back-to-back tournaments. 

Tennis – Davis Cup Finals – Group F – Serbia v Germany – Olympiahalle, Innsbruck, Austria – November 27, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his match against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Could we see Novak Djokovic play in a golf match against Rafael Nadal? 

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After beating Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16 at Rome, Novak got candid about numerous aspects of life and then an interviewer asked him about playing golf at a park in Rome. Novak jokingly denied that rumor.

When the same interviewer asked Novak about playing a golf match against Rafael Nadal, the Serb said, “I think with Nadal, we faced each other many times on tennis court. One day, I hope we can play golf as friends. But knowing how competitive we are, if we play golf, we will definitely like to beat each other.”

“I would like to beat him and he would like to beat me, but he is much better than me in golf. It’s a beautiful sport. It helps you divert your mind and relax in nature, and parks in Rome are truly beautiful,” Novak further said.  

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after winning their semi final match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Notably, Nadal and Novak did play golf together in the past, when they were at Indian Wells in 2009. Indian Wells has one of the best golf courts in the world and many players played there as well. In 2016, Nadal again participated in a golf match, while playing the BNP Paribas Open.

Interestingly, the Spaniard plays golf with his right hand rather than his left. When it comes to Novak, he plays golf using his right hand just like he plays tennis.

Novak is eying for his first title of the season at the Italian Open

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Previously, the Serbian won the Rome Masters five times in his career and he will be a heavy favorite to clinch the crown for a record sixth time. Before that, he needs to overcome the challenge of Casper Ruud in the semis. 

Last month, Novak came really close to winning his first title at the Serbian Open as he reached the final. Unfortunately, he lost the final hurdle against Andrey Rublev. This will be another great opportunity for the Serb to win a title to boost his confidence ahead of the French Open. 

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Can Novak win the Rome Masters? Let us know in the comments. 

Watch This Story: Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova that define their friendship

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Debkinkar Maity

552 articles

Debkinkar Maity is a Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. His desire to become a sports journalist inspired him to take up a degree in journalism and mass communication, and he hasn't looked back ever since. Following the sport for over a decade now, Debkinkar has an ardent love for Roger Federer.

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