Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic? Alex de Minaur picks favorite win

Alex de Minaur scored wins over Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic? Alex de Minaur picks favorite win
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Alex de Minaur is in the selected group of players who have beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the greatest players of all time. The Aussie delivered two notable triumphs in front of the home fans at the United Cup, ousting Rafa last year and Novak this week.

Asked to pick his favorite victory, de Minaur gave the advantage to his recent success over Djokovic, beating world no. 1 after experiencing a terrible loss against him at last year's Australian Open. Alex met Rafa at the beginning of 2023 and scored a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory in Sydney.

The home favorite dominated the second set and prevailed with a late break in the decider. The Spaniard played a loose forehand in the encounter's fifth game, sending the Aussie 3-2 in front. Alex failed to cement the lead, wasting a game point in game six and getting broken after a volley mistake, bringing Rafa back to 3-3.

Nadal gained momentum, holding at love and delivered another break in game eight after de Minaur's loose forehand.

Rafael Nadal, United Cup 2023© Brendon Thorne / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafa served for the opener at 5-3 and closed it with a service winner after 46 minutes.

Despite only seven games, they battled for over 50 minutes in the second set. The home player took the pivotal points and left his rival behind. Nadal broke for the third straight time at the beginning of the set before fading from the court.

De Minaur converted his fourth break point in the second game, landing a backhand winner for 1-1. Nadal played against four more break points at 1-2, allowing his rival to convert the last with a backhand winner that propelled him 3-1 up.

Alex saved a break point in game five and painted a volley winner for a hold and 4-1. Rafa got broken again after a forehand mistake, falling 5-1 behind and allowing Alex to serve for the set. The Aussie denied three break points in game seven before seizing the second set point, forcing a decider after an hour and 41 minutes.

In one of the pivotal moments of the entire clash, de Minaur fended off four break points in the second game, remaining on the positive side.

Alex de Minaur defeated Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the United Cup.

The Aussie grabbed a break at 15 in game five after the Spaniard's massive backhand error.

Still fighting, Nadal pulled the break back a few minutes later with a forehand crosscourt winner, locking the result at 3-3 and adding more excitement. Rafa held at love at 4-4, and Alex followed that pace to level the score at 5-5.

Nadal lost the ground in the 11th game, getting broken at love after a loose forehand and finding himself in a tough position. De Minaur served for the victory at 6-5 and fired a service winner for a hold at love, celebrating a notable triumph.

A year later, Alex delivered another noteworthy win, beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 at the same competition. The Aussie sealed the deal in an hour and 33 minutes, outplaying the Serb, who struggled with the right wrist issues that impacted his serve and forehand.

Alex played determined and aggressive tennis, facing no problems behind the initial shot and breaking Novak once in each set to emerge at the top. They served well at the beginning of the duel before Djokovic felt the pain.

Novak Djokovic, United Cup 2024© Paul Kane / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak moved 40-15 in front in the seventh game before allowing Alex to create two break chances. World no. 1 denied them with winners and held with a service winner for 4-3.

De Minaur produced another fine hold in game eight and pushed strong on the return in the next one. The home favorite created three break points when Djokovic netted a forehand and converted the second after another forehand error from world no.

1. Alex served for the set at 5-4 and delivered a hold at 15, taking the opener in 49 minutes and gaining momentum. Like in the opener, Djokovic stayed in touch early in the second set, holding at 30 in game five for 3-2. Novak looked good in the seventh game before squandering a 40-15 lead.

The Serb faced a break point and hit a double fault to find himself a set and a break down. The Aussie cemented the lead with a hold at love in game eight and served for the victory at 5-4. Alex fired a forehand down the line winner and created three match points.

Playing a couple of loose shots for the first time in his games, de Minaur brought Djokovic back to deuce. However, Alex landed a service winner for his fourth match point and converted it after Novak's wayward backhand. "It's not easy to compare those two wins.

However, I have to give the edge to my triumph against Novak. He is world no. 1, and I was lucky to grab a couple of games last time we played," Alex de Minaur said.

Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic Alex De Minaur