Ivanisevic: "Djokovic and Nadal are not friends but they respect each other"

The Serbian champion's former coach spoke about the human and professional relationship between Nole and the Spaniard

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Ivanisevic: "Djokovic and Nadal are not friends but they respect each other"
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

"Novak and Rafa are rivals and they marked an era, together with Federer. Of course, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka were also there, as well as a few others. But Roger left early and Rafa was seriously injured.

It's stupid to blame Nadal for anything, because Rafa is Rafa. I think there are two records in tennis that, in my opinion, are practically impossible to beat: the first is Rafa's 14 titles at the Roland Garros and the second is Novak's weeks at the top of the ATP ranking."

The split between Goran Ivanisevic and Novak Djokovic provides new interesting insights every day, which concern not only the two directly involved, but also other champions in some way connected to them.

Ivanisevic in fact gave a long interview to Sportklub, in which he talked about the Big 3, his former player Djokovic and the Serbian's relationship with Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic© Michael Dodge / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Ivanisevic spoke following the end of the technical collaboration with Nole and revealed many interesting aspects, information and anecdotes.
The 52-year-old did not fail to express his appreciation for the Spanish player and also clarified what the coexistence between Rafa and Nole is like on the Tour.

"It's stupid to blame Nadal for something, I love Rafa and I will always say that the two of them had something special. I know that the media is interested in fueling this type of conflict, but the rivalry must be respected. They are not very good friends with each other but they all respect each other and, in the end, they helped each other a lot to become better tennis players," said Goran.

Goran is sure that Djokovic will continue to increase his record of weeks as ATP No.1: "It's not over yet. We don't know for how long but if everything goes well he will be number 1 at least until Roland Garros."

Ivanisevic talked about the end of the historic collaboration with the Serb

Over time, the one between Djokovic and Ivanisevic has become one of the most successful collaborations in the history of sport. The Croatian coach explained that it was a natural human process where two individuals give everything and reach the point of not being able to do more for each other.

"It's really been a difficult and intense five years. People forget about the Coronavirus period, they forget that it was labeled as the biggest bad guy on the planet. We weren't allowed to enter one country, then another... we were always in a sort of limbo.

Not to mention the chaos that happened in Australia. So we have reached a certain level of saturation. Ultimately, I got tired of him and he got tired of me. In any case, I felt I couldn't help him anymore," revealed Ivanisevic in an exclusive interview with Sasa Ozmo, journalist for SportKlub and Tennis Majors.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

"The first time I had the feeling that we were close to the end was in the United States. Wimbledon was a hard blow: that defeat also affected me as a coach. Obviously compliments must be given to Carlos Alcaraz, in the end he was the better, but the game could have changed with one or two points. In America the final in Cincinnati was incredible; then the victory at the US Open.

That's when I felt that feeling. It was just a question of when. People described our relationship as turbulent, but that's not true. Novak is like this: he has always behaved the same way towards me, Marian Vajda or Boris Becker. His way of communicating on the pitch during a match never bothered me. I couldn't hear half the screams of him," he told.

Ivanisevic then revealed the moment they talked to each other about separating from a sporting point of view.

"We sat down together the day after the Indian Wells defeat. I'm really happy we did it in person. After all the things we faced together after five years, it was the only right way to end. It wouldn't have been right to do it via a text or phone call. We laughed and talked. I told him how I felt and he did the same.

I have always been close to him over the years: for better or for worse. Novak, when the cameras are off, manages to be even more himself. He is a good person and has a big heart. I was even ready to die for him if necessary.

He was fighting against the whole world. It wasn't easy being his coach: everyone looked at him as if he were the bad guy. However, many people offered us their support," he explained.