In the last few hours, Rafael Nadal's statements to the British newspaper Metro Uk have made a lot of noise with the Spaniard who prodded his great rival Novak Djokovic revealing a true obsession of the latter for records.
Rafa's words have gone around the world and could not go unnoticed in front of Nole, currently engaged in the 'home' ATP tournament in Belgrade. In the presentation press conference, the Serbian champion and world number one wanted to answer his rival like this: "Nadal has the right to have his opinion on anything and I cannot speak for him.
I read that he talked about records that way, but personally I can say that I am not obsessed with records at all, my goal is to follow my passion and grow as a tennis player. I just have goals and I have no problem saying that I want to beat the Grand Slam record and achieve as many goals as possible.
When I was little I dreamed of becoming number one in the world, but once you have achieved that you set yourself others and I think it is the same for Rafa. I respect Rafa a lot, more than anyone else and I appreciate his dedication to this sport, he has been my biggest rival throughout my career, the reason why I play tennis is my love for this sport."
Novak Djokovic, who is currently competing at the Serbia Open, spoke about a wide range of topics at his pre-tournament press conference. Djokovic first gave his thoughts on the younger players making their mark at Miami and Monte Carlo, before touching upon the pressure that he, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer constantly face while dealing with the fans' expectations.
Novak Djokovic on the younger players
"So I think it's a positive thing for our sport to actually have new champions, new faces that are going to be recognized by tennis fans around the world," Novak Djokovic said.
"I don't mind seeing new winners; I would like to be on the winning side myself everywhere I play, but you know things are different. (These are) Guys that are challenging the best players in the world," the Serb added.
"Maybe we have to accept the fact that we will not be in the top rankings of the world soon and some other guys will replace us there, which is a normal cycle of life." Djokovic further revealed there is constant pressure on Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and himself to sustain their excellence amid the rise of the Next Gen, before suggesting that the youngsters' charge to win big titles was 'good for the sport'
"I myself have been experiencing these kinds of expectations, the pressure of being a top ATP player for quite some time, along with Rafa and Roger," he added. "Always expected to go far in the tournament, but I think it's good for our sport to have new winners, new faces that are clinching the biggest titles."