Novak Djokovic: Rafael Nadal is my greatest rival

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Novak Djokovic: Rafael Nadal is my greatest rival

Novak Djokovic was pleased with his three-set win over Diego Schwartzman in the Rome Open semi-final. In the press conference, the Serbian player said: "Credit to Diego for playing well. He came out with the right game plan.

He was hitting the ball clean. He was hitting it fast. He was mixing up the pace. He was dropshot-ing really well. It was really hard to read the play. The conditions were very, very heavy, very wet court. Not two same bounces. The ball wasn't bouncing high at all.

It's completely different from day. For him, he didn't have to worry about high balls. He was just picking everything on the rise. Very close match. I mean, third set, one point where we had that great point, ending when I got the dropshot, that was the turning point.

That's where I made a break. That was enough." Djokovic also praised Rafael Nadal: "He's one of the greatest champions this game has ever seen. His mentality, his approach, his resilience, ability to fight back after long absence from the tour, injuries, surgeries, he's had it all.

He keeps on showing to the world why he's one of the biggest legends of tennis history. I have greatest respect for him. He's my greatest rival of all time, for sure. I've had so many matches against him. Up to date, we had the longest rivalry of tennis of all time.

Played over 50 matches. Every time we get to play each other, it's a thrill. It's the ultimate challenge." Nadal defeated Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in the final on Sunday. It was his 34th Masters title, and ninth title in Rome.