Novak Djokovic is applauding Rafael Nadal's perseverance and refusing to simply quit amid one of the most challenging periods of his career. After battling various injuries in the last couple of years, Nadal also suffered an injury to his psoas muscle at this year's Australian Open.
Initially, Nadal was expected to be out for six to eight weeks and return to action in March. But Nadal ended up suffering multiple setbacks in his recovery and ultimately undergoing surgery in June. This week, Nadal announced that just now he can safely say that he is going to be able to play again.
"With all the injuries that he had, he keeps going. That's definitely something that you have to respect. I really admire that about him. For the world of tennis, there's no doubt his comeback is amazing news," Djokovic told Tennis TV, via We Are Tennis.
Novak Djokovic on Rafael Nadal:
"With al the injuries that he had, he keeps going. That's definitely something that you have to respect. I really admire that about him. For the world of tennis, there's no doubt his comeback is amazing news."
(via @tennistv) pic.twitter.com/Jo8209kyRz — We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) November 18, 2023
Djokovic's wish is to play against Nadal at least one more time
Djokovic and Nadal have a legendary rivalry that has featured 59 meetings so far.
Currently, Djokovic is leading their head-to-head by the smallest possible margin - the Serb has won 30 and lost 29 times against Nadal. With Nadal planning to return to tennis in 2024 for his farewell Tour, Djokovic hopes to get a chance to play his biggest rival at least one more time. “I think it would be nice for the sport to have at least one more match between Nadal and me.
That’s the biggest rivalry in terms of the amount of matches played that this sport ever had. Hopefully that can happen. He’s a big warrior. He’s somebody that really never gives up. With all the injuries that he had, keeps going.
That’s definitely something that you have to respect and admire about him and his spirit," Djokovic told Serbian journalist Sasa Ozmo this week at the ATP Finals in Turin.