Novak Djokovic reveals ‘Nadal has been a great motivational factor’ amid Rafa’s retirement speculation

Former tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic explains how Rafael Nadal has been pushing him to be the best throughout his career.

Nadal, the 36-year-old Spanish star, is one of the best tennis players in the world. He is currently the joint holder of the most Grand Slam wins (22), along with Novak Djokovic. He withdrew from the French Open after failing to recover from a hip injury he sustained at the Australian Open in January.

After jokingly saying that he was a relieved man after Rafa Nadal withdrew from the French Open, Novak Djokovic revealed his admiration for the Spanish superstar upon hearing Nadal’s retirement plans, saying that a part of him would leave with Nadal’s retirement.

Rafael Nadal wants to retire in 2024

The 36-year-old Spaniard said he would stop playing for the time being when he announced his retirement from the 2023 Rolland Garros last week, but he still hopes to play in one final season before retiring in 2024.

“I’ll look to be 100% ready for next year, which I believe will be the last year of my professional career,” Nadal told a news conference at his tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain.

“The evolution of the injury I sustained in Australia has not gone as I would have liked. I have lost goals along the way, and Roland Garros becomes impossible.”

“I’ll not establish a date for my return. I’ll see how my body responds and take it from there. If I keep playing at this moment, I don’t think I can be there next year,” he added.

Djokovic’s reflection on his own career post-Nadal announcement

Djokovic and Nadal’s rivalry is one of the longest-running in tennis history; the two have met a record 59 times on the ATP Tour and have won every major title in the sport between them.

“Because of the rivalry that we have, I feel he was one of the most impactful people that I have had in my career,” said Djokovic. “He has been a great motivational factor for me to keep playing and keep competing, to keep pushing each other, and to see who’s going to achieve more. So that news came as a shock to everybody.” 

Rafael Nadal

“It made me think about my career. I’m not going to make any announcement today, but reflecting on it, I felt a little bit emotional about what he was saying.”

Novak Djokovic’s 2023 French Open venture begins on Sunday, where he will be facing 114 ranked Aleksander Kovacevic in the Round of 128. 


Tanzeem Rahman

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Tanzeem Rahman is a soccer writer and an editor at SportsZion. Tanzeem's love for the sport began by watching and admiring Cristiano Ronaldo in his early Manchester United days. Having graduated from Germany as an Electrical Engineer, Tanzeem has watched multiple high-profile games throughout Europe from the gallery. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, as well as sublime english proficiency has been an asset to SportsKnot. Outside of his duty, Tanzeem is a gamer, and loves to spend time watching Anime and reading Manga.


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