Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the three greatest players in the history of modern tennis. The Big Three marked an era of tennis, more than twenty years of the Tennis Tour, in the sign of a rivalry that saw the three compete for the Grand Slam titles.
There are 64 altogether: 22 for Serbian, 22 for Spanish, 20 for Swiss. For retirement from tennis, the latter wanted the two players alongside him, in the Laver Cup last September. However, this does not mean that they are all friends.
Djokovic, in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, talked about the rivalry with the Swiss and the Spaniard. He explained: "I've never been friends with Federer and Nadal, between rivals it's not possible.
I've always had respect for Federer, he's one of the greatest of all time. He's had an extraordinary impact, but I've never been close to he. Same with Nadal. We went to dinner together twice, but even with him friendship is impossible.
I have always admired and respected him. Thanks to them I have become who I am. This will unite us forever. Nadal is a part of my life: in the last 15 years I've seen him more than my mother."
Novak on Federer and Nadal
The question about Novak Djokovic's two greatest rivals started from a premise: whether it was Roger Federer who asked the Serbian to stop imitating him.
Among the best known of him, there was the one made against Rafael Nadal, after the final of the 2009 Italian Open. "Lea Pericoli asked me on that occasion. I did it because Rafa won. If I had won, I never would have done it. If I had imitated him after beating him, Rafa would have killed me," continued the tennis player from Belgrade.
Speaking of the Big Three, Djokovic chooses the two matches of his life: "The Wimbledon final in 2019: the audience screamed Roger-Roger and inside me the cry became Novak-Novak. The other is the Australian Open final in 2012 against Nadal, a physical battle that lasted six hours."
• A former star believes Rafael Nadal will not return for a 'farewell Tour'• Jannik Sinner gets an almost impossible record against Novak Djokovic• 2023 In Review: Rafael Nadal falls to Alex de Minaur• Alex Michelsen tells why he wants to play Novak Djokovic and how would that go• Do you know how Rafael Nadal did in his lone Brisbane International appearance? • 2023 In Review: Novak Djokovic returns to Adelaide after 16 years