At the 1976 Volvo International in North Conway, the world's best singles players, Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe, stepped onto the court in the doubles, scoring two wins and losing in the quarterfinals. Thirty-four years later, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, no.1 and no.
2 singles, joined forces and competed at the Canada Masters in Toronto. Djokovic and Nadal played together for the first time and forged the first doubles team of two leading singles players since Connors and Ashe! Novak and Rafa faced Canadian youth Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic on August 9 and suffered a close 5-7, 6-3, 10-8 defeat in one hour and 34 minutes on center court.
Nadal and Djokovic took advantage of two of the eight break opportunities and suffered two breaks against the youngsters, who opened a huge lead in the match tiebreaker and took the victory home. Milos and Vasek survived opening games three and seven and broke prominent rivals in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead.
Novak and Rafa fended off two set points in game nine return and claimed four straight games to win the first set 7-5 and gain momentum. The Serb and Spaniard wasted break opportunities at 2-2 in the second set, which would cost them dearly as they broke at 3-4 before Milos and Vasek closed the set with their serve to force the tiebreaker of the match.
Local players forged a 5-0, 8-2 lead and seized the fourth match point at 9-8 to go over the top. Novak was happy to share the court with Rafa, calling him a legend and one of the best players of all time. In addition, the Serbian wanted to see them on the court again in the future, although they have never played doubles together again.
Djokovic and Becker had a successful association
While his skills on the court have always been unquestionable, Novak Djokovic has not always received the same love and support as his rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He’s always had an antagonistic relationship with tennis crowds and seemed to feed off that energy. However, things began to change for the Serb at the US Open this season. Recently, Novak’s former coach Boris Becker spoke about the warm reception Djokovic received during the final of the US Open 2021.
The three-time Wimbledon champion stated, “The standing ovations he received during the final were good for him – and should make it clear to Novak that he is on his way to be loved in the fall of his career. The respect for his performance was always there, but now you also feel for him emotionally”.