Novak Djokovic has admitted that he is not close friends with Rafael Nadal but at the same time, both of them have mutual respect for each other. Djokovic and Nadal have shared an epic rivalry with each other over the last decade and they have dominated the sport along with Roger Federer.
The Spaniard and Serbian have been involved in many tough battles on the court, which has kept the tennis fans on the edge of their seats.
Djokovic holds a 30-29 head-2-head record against Nadal and is one of the 11 players to have a winning record (winning percentage of more than 50) against the Spaniard.
Speaking to Graham Bensinger in a 2020 interview, “Well, look, we have to define what close friends means. We were never really as close as I would be close with my childhood friends or he would with his. We push each other, we drive each other to be the best we could possibly be with the tennis racquet on the court,” he said, adding, “It’s just it’s really hard [to be close friends] because [we are each other’s] main rivals. [We] both [are] fighting for something that only one can get.”
Djokovic added that they share a mutual respect for each other and know they are role models for the young generation.
“But we always had respect for each other because, I think, we are all aware of how many kids look at us, look what we do, what we say, how we behave towards each other and towards the sport, towards other people. The example that we give is something that is very important to all of us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal leads the Grand Slam race as he has won 22 Major titles while Novak Djokovic is hot on the heels of the Spaniard as he has clinched 21 Slam titles in his glorious career.
Nadal will aim to win his 23rd Grand Slam title at the upcoming US Open while Djokovic’s participation is hanging by a thin thread as he is not vaccinated against Covid-19 and can not enter the US according to current immigration rules.