Djokovic vs Nadal: is it the greatest rivalry in tennis history?

The Spaniard is ready to come back on the court: during the season he will be able to meet his Serbian rival again

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Djokovic vs Nadal: is it the greatest rivalry in tennis history?
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

He is now very close to the start of the new tennis season. 2024 will bring with it many new features. The most important will probably be the return of Rafael Nadal, who has now been missing from the ATP Tour since that famous match at the Australian Open, against Mackenzie Mcdonald, where he suffered a hip problem, which affected the rest of the year.

The Spaniard landed in Australia a few days ago and is preparing his return, which will take place in Brisbane, where thanks to a wildcard he will start directly from the main draw, avoiding the qualifiers. The 22-time Slam champion has carried out a meticulous preparation so far, carried out without any physical problems of any kind.

Rafa decided to place the first part of his training in Kuwait, where he gave ample demonstration of being physically back in great condition. One of his historic rivals also focused on this great news, perhaps the most important, like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, who at the end of the exhibition match played against Carlos Alcaraz gave his point of view: "The return of Rafa is great news for tennis.

He couldn't play all of last year and is one of the great legends of our sport. We want to see him play as much as possible, we hope to be able to play great matches against him, both me and Carlos, it would be incredible for us and for this sport," said the Serb.

But can we consider the rivalry between Nadal and Djokovic the greatest in the history of tennis?

The two have faced each other 59 times since 2006, marking a record for the open era. In head-to-head, the Serbian tennis player leads 30-29.

Speaking of numbers, theirs is also the greatest rivalry in the history of both Grand Slam tournaments, with 18 matches played (Nadal leads 11-7), of which 9 finals (The Spanaird leads 5-4). Their rivalry is also the longest lasting of both the ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, with 29 matches played (Nole leads 16-13), including 14 finals, which is a record (7-7).

Most fans believe that the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is the most important, for what he has generated, for the passion he has unleashed among fans, media and insiders and for the media expectations he has met.

But if you analyze the numbers and data, it is clear that the rivalry between Nadal and Djokovic is the greatest in the history of tennis.