Novak Djokovic comments on Rafael Nadal retiring in 2024

Djokovic asked about Nadal's French Open absence and upcoming retirement.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic comments on Rafael Nadal retiring in 2024

Novak Djokovic jokingly said he does not miss Rafael Nadal in the French Open main draw but then noted a part of him would leave when the Spaniard retires in 2024. On Saturday, Djokovic held a pre-tournament press conference at Roland Garros.

"Things have been progressing well in practice in the last week. I know how to live during a Slam. Rafa not playing opens things up for everyone, he would be the absolute favorite otherwise," Djokovic said, via Sasa Ozmo.

Against Nadal, Djokovic has had nine losses at the French Open.

"Honestly, I don’t miss seeing Rafa in the draw (laughter), I haven’t had much success against him here. It’s a big loss for tennis. Hopefully he can come back near the end of the year," Djokovic added.

Djokovic on Nadal's plans to retire in 2024

"When he announced that 2024 would be his last, I felt that part of me would leave with him too.

He was one of bigger motivational factors in my career, it made me reflecto on my career and I felt emotional," Djokovic said.

With Nadal out, Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz are the top favorites for the French Open title.

When Djokovic was asked about the No 1 French Open favorite, he named Alcaraz. "Experience is on my side, but from the perspective of the game itself and the form, he is the favourite number one," Djokovic said. Leading up to the French Open, Djokovic didn't win any titles on clay.

On the other side, Alcaraz made it all the way in Barcelona and Madrid. While Alcaraz is definitely in better form, Djokovic has way more Grand Slam experience. Also, Djokovic has a history of finding his best tennis when it matters the most.

Djokovic and Alcaraz are projected to meet in the French Open semifinal. It remains to be seen if we will get a Djokovic and Alcaraz match at Roland Garros.

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal French Open