Tennis is among the oldest sports disciplines out there, and you will see that many athletes left a big mark on its history. Many names stuck, and as a result, some big rivalries were also quite important for a specific period. But we can all agree that the early 2000s century was the one where probably the biggest rivalries of all time started. We are talking about a famous triumvirate.
The triumvirate was compiled of three massive names, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. In the last couple of years, Roger Federer, due to his age, is not on the top level of performance. He had an exceptional career, but we can see that all point to him retiring in the future. The most prominent names these days are, without any doubt, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Naturally, that doesn’t mean there are no other household names who are, even though they are younger, competitive enough to challenge these two names. With that in mind, this is a great opportunity for sports bettors to earn some money while betting on these competitions. You can access the odds easily on sites like 1x.
But the rivalry between Nadal and Djokovic continues, and let’s see why they are so closely matched.
As we know, Djokovic is a bit younger than Nadal and Federer. Therefore, he was the last one to join the big three we have mentioned before. These two have already been winning tournaments before he appeared on the big stage. But he managed to find his way among the best players that have ever lived. When that happened, the final piece of the puzzle was added and we had the best time in the history of tennis.
His arriving a little bit later on the stage also decided that he would have issues with reaching their fan base. He was able to become as popular as the two only in the last couple of years when he had some exceptional winning streaks. But when we are speaking generally, we can see that the rivalry between Djokovic and Nadal has become more prominent than any other combination between these three.
The reason is quite simple, we are talking about the pair of players who are the best defenders of all time, which was an element that was always compared during the matches between these two. So, many experts and followers of the sport believe that this rivalry is probably the biggest one in the history of the sport. Thankfully, it will last for at least a couple of seasons.
We can all agree that the rivalry between these two players is easily among the most remarkable ones out there. What is specific about these two legends is that they played more matches against each other than any other players, 59. Their score is pretty close, with Djokovic winning 30, while Nadal won 29 matches. When it comes to the final matches, they are also pretty close with Djokovic winning 15, and Nadal 13.
However, we can see that Nadal won 11 of their grand slam matches, 11. We know that Nadal is dominant on clay court, which has become his specialty over the years. We are talking about tournaments such as Roland Garros. He won this tournament more than any other player in the world. Along with Djokovic, Nadal is the best defender player of all time, which makes their matches interesting.
On the other hand, Djokovic is pretty versatile when it comes to the tournaments he has won. He set numerous records in the last two decades, and from his current physical state, there is no doubt that we can expect much more from him in the future. He has at least a couple of more seasons in front of him, this is without a doubt. We are bound to watch at least five more matches from these two.
What About the Last Season?
The last season was quite interesting since both players experienced some hardships. Djokovic struggled with form while Nadal had problems with a knee injury. Still, both of them managed to win some tournaments, and the Spaniard was able to win a grand slam tournament, which made him more successful than his Serbian counterpart. He has one tournament win more than him.
When that happened, the media sparked the rivalry between these two exceptional athletes. As a result, many experts started comparing their careers. Furthermore, people are interested in seeing who will be more successful from these two in the long run. For instance, we can see that the next couple of tournaments will be crucial since they will determine who is the most successful in the history of the sport.
In a recent interview, Djokovic stated that he grew up as a player around Nadal and Federer. You will certainly agree that this is a great testimony from an exceptional athlete about how he came to be on the highest level. He said that this wouldn’t be possible without the competition he has experienced. So, nobody should be surprised why so many people are interested in seeing the outcome of their rivalry.
What Does the Future Hold?
We have addressed several times that there will be interesting matches between these two in the future. They are 35 and 36, which means that their retirement date will occur soon. Still, they are more than competent to provide us with some quality entertainment. So, it is not unreasonable to expect that they will meet each other in some highly-entertaining matches.
So, who is the GOAT, or greatest of all time, Nadal or Djokovic? Well, this is a rather hard question to answer. Both of them are certainly among the biggest names ever, but we will need to wait until their retirement to see who will be the most successful one ever, especially when it comes to the number of grand slams. Sure some will prefer one over another. But the records will be remembered forever.