Rafael Nadal Credits Rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for Being a ‘Good Example’

Published 04/20/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerlan wait to go on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


The 2000s have seen a different era of tennis in which great rivalries unfolded. The Big 3 of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic dominated tennis, shattered records, and elevated the sport to new heights. The urge to do better than their rivals has made each of the trio better in their craft.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In a recent interview, Nadal weighed in on how Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have made him better. Given the caliber of his two greatest rivals, Nadal has always strived to do better.

“Well, of course, when you have great opponents in front, it helps to have a clear way about what you need to do to become better and better.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in the 2019 Wimbledon semifinal. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

The primary aim is to keep updating and reinventing. When Nadal faced the threat of Federer he tried his best to beat the Swiss Master in Wimbledon and Australian Open and thus he was successful. Similarly, faced with the threat of Djokovic, Nadal again improved and evolved his game.

“I always had great opponents in front, since the beginning of my career I had Roger there, and then Novak came a little bit later, but not much. I always had good examples of amazing players in front of me, competing for the same things so that helps to give you a clear way.”

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Rafael Nadal. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer also agree with Rafael Nadal

Having rivalries that transcended decades, even Djokovic and Federer have admitted that their rivalries have made them better tennis players.

“That’s why he’s one of the greatest players ever, so it’s been a pleasure to play against him. He’s also one of the players who have made me a better player,” Federer said.

“But today I stand and I can say that I’m definitely pleased to share the stage with them because they definitely made me the player I am,” Djokovic said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Big 3 rivalry has also been responsible for the lack of challenge from the next-gen. Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer have raised their game to such great heights that the youngsters just couldn’t challenge them.

Only time and age will enable the younger generation to stake its claim on the sport rather than superior skill or fitness from the looks of it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

INCREDIBLE: Jannik Sinner Joins Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Others in a Rankings Stat

19 days ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Bhavishya Mittal

951 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT