Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had met for the first time at the Roland Garros 2006 and they have forged a huge rivalry over the last 12 years, playing against each other 52 times and battling for the biggest titles year after year.
Rafa and Novak should fight for the year-end number 1 spot as well in the following weeks and it could all come down to the very last tournament of the season at the ATP Finals in London in November. Novak will try to reduce the gap to Rafa this week in Shanghai where he chases his fourth Masters 1000 title at this event while the Spaniard targets his return for Paris Masters, giving his best to recover from a knee injury that forced him to skip Beijing and Shanghai.
Besides their regular encounters on the Tour, Nadal and Djokovic have played five exhibition matches from 2011, giving the crowd in Bogota, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Milan a chance to see them in action without that competitive note that Tour brings, having the opportunity to relax and enjoy in every point.
That match in Italy was played at the end of September 2016 and Novak won it 6-4 6-4, just like all three matches they played on the Tour that season. Their last match came at Wimbledon this year and it was one of the best they have ever played, with Novak prevailing 10-8 in the fifth set after five hours and 15 minutes for his 27th win over the great rival.
Two tennis titans will have a chance to play at an exotic tennis country in December as well, setting up their next exhibition match for December 22 at the Sports Hall in King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia! The King Salman Tennis Championship will be the perfect opportunity for tennis fans in Saudi Arabia to see two of the greatest players ever competing against each other, with no professional players or tournaments in their country.
After that, Novak Djokovic will play the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi between December 27-29 and we shall see if Rafael Nadal will join him there or fly to Australia where he leads Brisbane field in the first week of the new season.