Novak Djokovic is all set to face Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Roland Garros. It is the most awaited fixture for tennis fans all around the world. The duo has shared great rivalry over the years and hence ahead of the game, the Serb admitted that Nadal is his biggest rival.
The World No. 1 defeated Matteo Berrettini whereas Nadal defeated Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals to progress to the last four where they will face each other. A lot of people believe that Djokovic and Nadal’s rivalry is one of the best of this current generation. They even compare it with several top rivalries from the past. According to some fans, only Christine Evert and Martina Navratilova’s rivalry tops this one.
Djokovic was asked about his rivalry with Nadal at the post-match press conference after his quarterfinal win. There the Serb claimed that he waits for matches against the Spaniard more than any other player.
“Yeah I will probably pick Rafa as the biggest rival I have ever had in my career,” Djokovic said. “The anticipation for the match against him (for me), any match on any surface, any occasion is always different from any other.”
He further considered himself to be lucky to have played Nadal as many times throughout his career. “Rivalry between us (Rafael Nadal and him) has been, I think, historic for this sport and I have been privileged to play against him so many times,” the Serb said.
The World No. 1 admitted that his constant rivalry and competition with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer helped him improve and grow as a better player.
“And I was mentioning before that rivalries with him and Roger have made me a stronger player and allowed me to understand how I need to improve my game to get to the level where they were actually when I started playing professional tennis,” Djokovic asserted.
Djokovic has been in good form en route to the semifinals at the Roland Garros. He had a smooth ride till the third round as he progressed to the fourth without dropping a set. However, he played a gruelling encounter against Lorenzo Musetti and then faced tough opposition in Matteo Berrettini. So he is charged up to face the ‘King of Clay’ next.
“The quality and the level of tennis that I’ve been playing in the past three, four weeks on clay — [in] Rome, Belgrade and here — is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match,” Djokovic concluded.