Ion Tiriac: Novak Djokovic is great athlete but Rafael Nadal is great champion

Tiriac thinks Nadal's humble demeanor is what makes him a great champion.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ion Tiriac: Novak Djokovic is great athlete but Rafael Nadal is great champion

Former Madrid Masters tournament director Ion Tiriac says Novak Djokovic is a great athlete but it's Rafael Nadal who is a great champion. Djokovic, 34, is one of the most accomplished players in tennis history and he is a member of the Big Three.

Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer are the three greatest players in tennis history but it's well-known that Nadal and Federer have a much bigger fanbase and receive much bigger support in tournaments than Djokovic. Djokovic never has the crowd on his side when he plays Nadal and Federer but still he has managed to win 20 Grand Slams and become one of the greatest players in tennis history.

"Djokovic is looking for his place and he can't find it," Tiriac said, per Sportskeeda. "He is like Becker, like a child who plays with fire and puts his hand up to see if it burns or not. Djokovic is a great athlete, a very good tennis player, but to be a great champion, it's Nadal!

In my opinion, Nadal is, not in tennis, but in sports, a genius who stayed with both feet on the ground, who behaves the same as when he was 15."

Nadal made it past Djokovic

Nadal captured a record 21st Grand Slam title after beating Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final.

Recently, Ilie Nastase weighed in on the GOAT debate. "It is clear that if the question is who has more great titles, the answer is Nadal," Nastase told Marca. "If we talk about the best ever there are other factors. Roger Federer has impressive talent...But there is no doubt that Rafa has 21 Grand Slams and Federer and Djokovic have not." Nadal has had a stunning start to the year as he is 15-0 in 2022.

Nadal has victories at the Melbourne Summer Set, Australian Open and Acapulco. Nadal ended his 2021 season in August due to a foot issue. Nadal returned to action in Australia and so far he has an outstanding comeback. Next up for Nadal is the Indian Wells Masters.

Ion Tiriac Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal