‘He’s My Greatest Rival of All Time’ – Novak Djokovic Opens Up on Facing Rafael Nadal in a Potential Semifinal Encounter at Madrid Open 2022

Published 05/04/2022, 11:24 PM EDT

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have had an intriguing tennis rivalry over the years. The two faced off against each other for the first time at the French Open in 2006. However, Djokovic had to retire midway through the match after being two sets down in the quarterfinal encounter due to a lower back injury.

Further, the two have faced each other an astonishing 58 times, to date. Djokovic has a slight advantage over Nadal, winning 30 matches against Nadal’s 28. Their matches are a treat to watch and much sought after by tennis fans across the globe.

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The two players are in Spain to take part in the Madrid Open. Nadal and Djokovic are drawn in the same half and are on a collision course for a potential semifinal encounter. Recently, the Serb opened up on facing Nadal in Madrid.

Novak Djokovic feels his rivalry with Rafael Nadal is still going strong

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Talking about how his chances are affected with Nadal being in his half of the draw, Djokovic said, “Of course, it affects, because he’s my greatest rival of all time. You’re right. I mean, I wasn’t thinking about this, but we have not been in the same draw for a while. You know, things are changing. We have young players, and we are both trying to do our best to compete for the top spots of the world. I think we are still going strong, so it’s nice to see that.”

Sep 10, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after his match against Alexander Zverev of Germany (not pictured) on day twelve of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Further, Nadal and Djokovic have had contrasting 2022 seasons. While the Serb has played in only four tournaments, including the Madrid Open, Nadal has already clinched three titles this year. Additionally, Djokovic is not in the greatest of forms this season, making early exits in Dubai and Monte Carlo. Meanwhile, Nadal is making a comeback at the Madrid Open after a brief absence due to a rib injury.

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WATCH THIS STORY: The Greatest Comebacks in Tennis

Later today, Djokovic will take on Andy Murray in the pre-quarterfinals of the Madrid Open 2022. On the other hand, Nadal will square off against David Goffin.

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Vatsal Shah

673 articles

Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.

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