“Love Watching Him”: Billie Jean King Picks Rafael Nadal Over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as Her Favorite

Published 11/09/2021, 12:26 PM EST
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 31: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning his Men’s Singles third round match against Hyeon Chung of South Korea on day six of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2019 in Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


Legendary American tennis player Billie Jean King, who dominated women’s tennis for close to two decades, won a mammoth 39 major titles(12 singles, 16 doubles, and 11 mixed doubles) and is considered one of the greatest players ever to step out on a tennis court.

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For her contributions to the sport, the Fed Cup was renamed as the ‘Billie Jean King Cup‘, a team event played by professionals across countries. The tournament, which concluded few days ago, was won by team Russia that includes players like Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Daria Kasatkina, etc.,

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Billie Jean Kings picks Rafael Nadal as her favorite player from Big-3

During one of the media interactions, the American legend talked about various aspects related to the modern sport, including the debate around Big-3 of men’s tennis. When asked about who would she chose out of the three of them, King picked Rafael Nadal.

Aug 5, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand against Lloyd Harris of South Africa (not pictured) during the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

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They are all three different. I adore Nadal. I met him when he must have been 14 or 15 years old, in South Africa. I don’t think he remembers, but we do, because they said he was the child with the greatest potential. We looked at him and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy is so good'”. 

Billie further explains the reason for her adulation towards the Spaniard.

What I like the most about him is how much he respects tennis and how he gets angry when other players don’t respect him. That is why children want to be like him more than others when asked and they say that Nadal is their favorite”, said the American.

As any response on Nadal would be incomplete without two of his biggest competitors – Djokovic and Federer, Billie Jean King mentioned reasons for fans to like both of them.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Roger Federer of Switzerland at the net following victory in his Men’s Singles final during Day thirteen of The Championships – Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“Djokovic is going to be the best in titles” – Billie Jean King

Older adults stay more with Federer, for his elegance, because the way he hits the ball and dances on the court is beautiful. But Nadal has those values ​​and is more earthy. I think Djokovic is going to be the best in titles, because when Nadal and Federer competed they hurt each other in that sense”. 

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Needless to say, Federer and Nadal still enjoy huge row of appreciation and affection from fans across the globe but after this year’s US Open, it’s a given that Djokovic is not too far behind in terms of attracting more audience and earning their respect.

Sep 12, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia speaks to the crowd during the trophy presentation ceremony after his match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia (not pictured) in the men’s singles final on day fourteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The Serb, who lost to Medvedev in the finals at New York, felt a wave of support coming his way as fans cheered him on throughout the contest.

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The absence of Nadal and Federer allowed loads of tennis fans to see Djokovic as a crowd-puller and for this reason, the 2022 ATP season will surely be enthralling to witness when Nadal makes his comeback, which will most likely be followed by Roger Federer later on.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

586 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Sagar has completed his graduation in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

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