Novak Djokovic gets brutally honest on what he expects from Rafael Nadal in return

Djokovic thinks Nadal's competitive drive and desire will remain the same.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic gets brutally honest on what he expects from Rafael Nadal in return
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic says his expectation is that Rafael Nadal will want to play his best tennis and win Grand Slam titles in his return. 

Nadal, who started the 2023 season holding the all-time Grand Slam record with 22 Slams, didn't play any tournaments after the Australian Open due to a hip injury. While Nadal was sidelined, Djokovic added three Grand Slam titles to his name and now owns the all-time Slam record with 24 Majors. 

"I always expect him (Nadal) to play at his best, to be honest. Many times they've signed him out, they've done that with me as well. But we've proved them wrong," Djokovic said in Riyadh, via AFP.

Djokovic: Nadal is not someone who returns just to play 

Over the last couple of months, Nadal has been speaking very humbly about his expectations. After confirming his 2024 comeback, Nadal said he just hopes to be healthy and competitive. Djokovic declared Nadal "a legend" and underlined that the Spaniard's goal has always been winning titles. 

"He's not a kind of a player that will come back to the tour just to play -- let's say -- on a medium level, play a few matches. He wants to win titles, he wants to be the best, that's why he is who he is: a legend of our sport. I'm sure that his training and preparation is done with an intention to win a Grand Slam," Djokovic said.

At the upcoming Australian Open, Djokovic will be the top-seeded player while Nadal won't be a seed. Theoretically, there is a chance that Djokovic and Nadal could meet in the early stages at Melbourne Park. 

Going into the Australian Open, Nadal is not really considered among the top favorites for the title. For now, many are curious to see how will Nadal look when the time comes for the French Open. 

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal