Novak Djokovic: 'Tennis needs to have Rafael Nadal back'

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Novak Djokovic: 'Tennis needs to have Rafael Nadal back'

In a press conference at the Qatar Open in Doha Novak Djokovic commented on Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from Brisbane. The Spaniard is dealing with a thigh injury but he feels confident about his chances to compete at the Australian Open.

'He's the only one that really knows how he feels, you know', Djokovic said. 'He has done the comebacks for so many times in his career that you always believe that he can do it again. I have known him obviously over the years, mostly on the court, and he's a great competitor and great champion as a person and as an athlete.

He has a very physical style of tennis which obviously is putting a lot of load and pressure on his joints, on his knees. I'm sure that he and his team are doing everything they possibly can so he can start to compete again.

Sport needs Rafa, no question about it. He is one of the greatest legends of all time and we want to see him play.' On his next match against Nikoloz Basilashvili, Djokovic added: 'I think he plays quite similar to Fucsovics except he hits the ball harder, faster.

He is in great form in the last four or five months. He won against Del Potro in the finals of Beijing. He's working with a very successful coach. I think he helped to improve his game. And I played him earlier this year in Rome, last year in Rome, and it was a close two-set match on clay.

Obviously different conditions now, a bit slower. I mean, it's going to be slow, hard-court conditions. We're going to play the third match which is late at night and I expect another battle, you know. He moves well. As soon as he has a short ball, both backhand and forehand, he is hitting flat and making a lot of winners and so you have to be constantly on alert with him.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title