It is no mystery that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have improved each other. Their rivalry has been at the heart of the men's circuit (and perhaps tennis in general) for the last decade and a half, considering that the Big 3 have shared an impressive 58 Grand Slam titles.
The 33-year-old Serbian was the last in chronological order to win a Major, having won the Australian Open for the ninth time in his amazing career. The number 1 in the world has thus brought himself to only two lengths away from the eternal rivals in the Grand Slam standings.
Nole only won her first Grand Slam in 2008, five years after King Roger's first success and three years after Nadal's first success at Roland Garros. Djokovic has repeatedly repeated that he wants to beat Roger and Rafa's records, an objective within reach given that he is the youngest of the Big 3.
In a long interview reported by TennisHead, Novak hopes that this rivalry will continue for a long time.
Djokovic on his rivalry with Federer and Nadal
“Both of these guys have been my biggest rivals," Novak Djokovic said as quotes by TennisHead.
"Rafael Nadal and I have played against each other more than any other two players in the history of sport. We have played I think 55 times, or maybe more – I’m not really sure. I have played Roger Federer also nearly 50 times.
I felt there was a rivalry and an intensity in the rivalry from the very beginning. Right from 15 years ago. For 15 years we have been pushing each other to the limit and making each other better." Djokovic says the rivalry is vital for competitiveness in tennis and judging where your game is at.
He added: “We need the rivalries because we need to measure ourselves in a way. ‘How am I doing?’ ‘How is my biggest rival doing?’ If he is doing great, that actually inspires me. “That gives me motivation.
When I started playing, Roger already had multiple Slams. Rafa as well, and they were kicking my ass for the first five years. I was losing most of my matches against them, especially the big ones. And then that changed as we went toe-to-toe, and we are still going toe-to-toe after so many years.
I want these guys to keep on playing, because they are one of the greatest sources of my motivation, without a doubt”. In a short video message, which he shared on his social media handles before flying out to the Emirates, a masked-up Federer begins by saying, “So, here we are, about to take off, flight to Doha”.