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Novak Djokovic: I Really Hope Rafa Will Return So We Can Have One Final Battle

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Novak Djokovic has been in professional tennis for two decades and has faced players from various generations, but the Serbian has always been clear that he considers Rafael Nadal his greatest rival.

The Matador is currently going through a tough time and had to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters, and it’s uncertain whether he will be able to say goodbye to tennis by participating in at least one more professional tournament.

Djokovic himself expressed his support for his most serious competitor over the years while speaking to Eurosport cameras, admitting he wants to face Rafa at least one more time: “Right now, it’s unknown if we’ll see him on the court again. As a tennis fan, I really hope he can play at least one more tournament before retiring. Rafa had said that this year might be his last on the Tour, but he only played in Brisbane and hasn’t played since,” he said.

“Actually, we traveled together to the US and saw each other at Indian Wells, so I know he’s doing everything he can to return. We all know that clay is his favorite surface and his big goal is Roland Garros. I can only hope for the entire tennis community and for Roland Garros itself, that Nadal will be able to play there.”

The 24-time Grand Slam winner also spoke about the prospect of facing the Spaniard one last time in the Roland Garros final and was asked to highlight the most memorable matches between the two: “Yes, it would be great to meet in one final battle before we say goodbye to tennis. We’ve had many memorable encounters, but I have to highlight those where I’ve won, because they are more memorable to me,” he said.

“Maybe I would point to that Australian Open final in 2012, when we played for nearly 6 hours. Of course, I’d also highlight my first win over him on clay, which came in Monte Carlo in 2013, and my first victory at Roland Garros, which was in 2015. I’ll settle on these three, but I’ve lost many more times than I’ve won against him on clay. I think we’ve faced each other over 50 times, which is incredible.”

“This is the rivalry with the most matches in tennis history, and I’m proud to have been part of it. Probably both of us will appreciate it more after our careers end, when we can drink a mojito on the beach and remember the good times,” he concluded.

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