Nadal tries to 'unfreeze' his relationship with Djokovic: "He's a good person"

The Spaniard and the Serbian will probably never be friends, but after the digs of the last few weeks, the Spaniard has tried to ease relations, calling Nole a good person and tennis GOAT

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Nadal tries to 'unfreeze' his relationship with Djokovic: "He's a good person"
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal will return to the court at the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells, where he could cross paths with his rival of a thousand battles, Novak Djokovic.

The 22-time Slam champion spoke during El Objetivo, expressing his opinion on the GOAT issue. The Spaniard thus crowned Djokovic as the best ever, spending flattering words on the Serbian.

Perhaps the Spaniard is trying to unfreeze his relationship with the Serb, after the digs of the last few weeks.

"The numbers don't lie, Djokovic is the best in history. The image that Novak projects outside is worse than he really is. He is a good person, with his mistakes, but better than he seems. break the racket, but in the next point he is one hundred percent, that's why he is the one who has achieved the most in the history of our sport," explained Rafa.

Words like a champion, those released by Nadal, which culminate a few weeks in which the relations between the Spaniard (and Roger Federer) and the Serb had seemed a little tense due to mutual declarations.

Nadal and Djokovic
Nadal and Djokovic© Adam Pretty / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

What happened in previous weeks, which lead Rafa to crown Djokovic the GOAT

In a recent interview with the Times, Djokovic talked in fact about his relationship with Nadal and Federer.

"There was no room for three. In all the most famous sporting rivalries it's always about two people, not three. In soccer it's between Cristiano Ronaldo or Leo Messi. So I understand that this is probably one of the reasons why I was left out," he revealed, surprising fans.

Nole never hid, even after his first successes, that the goal was to consistently beat Roger and Rafa.

"I wasn't afraid to say I wanted to beat these guys, to be number one. I said that when I was a teenager and I think a lot of people didn't like it, including them, so they immediately kept me out and judged me a lot. Also for my attitude, of reiterating that I am better than them, I will be the best. I knew someone with this kind of mentality would be polarizing. A group of people will say: I like the confidence of him, but others will think: Look at this arrogant idiot,” said Nole.

"I think at the beginning of my career I really tried to be a little more connected with people, particularly in the places where they wanted Federer and Nadal, or Andy Murray, the most. But I also realized that there are different factors for I won't get any more support than them. So I asked myself: Do I continue to try to win people over or do I accept it and move on?" he then added.

Speaking previously to CBS News' 60 Minutes, Djokovic explained: "Obviously we haven't gotten along very well during our off-court careers. We're not friends because we're rivals and it's difficult to be close as opponents. Some things you share about your life or how you feel can be used against you.

We have shared the stage for many years and I think there is always the utmost respect, at least on my part, towards them. I hope that one day we will be closer, able to sit, talk and reflect . That would be really amazing."

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images
 

It all started with an interview with Nadal, who had very direct words towards Djokovic.

"Can you be frustrated with 22 Slams? In my opinion, Novak Djokovic has always experienced this race for the record more intensely. I think it would have been frustrating for him if he hadn't managed to have the record and perhaps that's why he has it he did it. He took ambition to the maximum. I was ambitious, but seeing things in perspective," Rafa said in an interview with Movistar Plus that divided public opinion.

In a subsequent interview with the newspaper AS, Nadal tried to clarify his position. "I believe that numbers are numbers and statistics are statistics, and in this sense I think he has better numbers than me and this is indisputable. I think that as far as titles are concerned, Djokovic is the best in history and there is nothing to discuss about this.

I congratulate Novak for everything he is achieving and this does not cause me any kind of frustration. I said it when I was the one who won the most Slams, I said it when we were tied and I say it now that I'm behind. I will not be the one who seeks, through personal struggle, to want to be what I am not."

Now, it seems that Nadal's words have the flavor of a thaw in relations between the Spaniard and the Serbian.

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