Rafael Nadal, widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, recently conceded that Novak Djokovic is the best player in history, following Djokovic’s surpassing of Nadal’s record for the most major titles in men’s tennis. Nadal’s last Grand Slam win came at the French Open in 2022, while Djokovic’s recent victory at the US Open marked his 24th major title, two more than Nadal’s tally.
In an interview with AS, Nadal acknowledged the undeniable fact that Djokovic’s numbers and statistics outweigh his own. “I believe that numbers are numbers and statistics are statistics. In that sense, I think he [Djokovic] has better numbers than mine and that is indisputable,” stated Nadal. He further expressed his respect for Djokovic’s achievements and affirmed that there is no room for debate regarding Djokovic being the best player in history based on titles.
Nadal’s professional career has been plagued by recurring injury issues in recent years. His persistent hip problem forced him to miss the past three major tournaments, including Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021. After his early exit from the Australian Open in January, Nadal has not participated in any tournament since. Speculation arose about his future in the sport, with Nadal hinting in May that the 2024 season could be his last.
However, Nadal clarified that he does not want his injury history to serve as an excuse for his recent performances. Acknowledging the nature of sports, he said, “As always, everyone can see the story as they wish, saying that I suffered many injuries. Bad luck for me or bad luck that I had my body this way… He has had another one, and in some ways that is also part of the sport. I congratulate him for everything he is achieving, and it doesn’t cause me any kind of frustration.”
Despite the setback of losing his Grand Slam record to Djokovic, Nadal remains content with his illustrious career. He emphasized that he has always been satisfied with his achievements and has never pursued personal accolades through unrealistic aspirations. “I said it when I was the one with the most Slams, I said it when we were tied, and I say it now that I am behind: I am not going to be the one who tries, through a personal struggle, to want to be what I am not,” affirmed Nadal. “What is, is, and what is not, is not.”
During the interview, Nadal also praised his fellow Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz, who won this year’s Wimbledon at the age of 20. Nadal expressed that Alcaraz has the potential to become a formidable rival for Djokovic in the future, highlighting his achievements as the former world No. 1.
In conclusion, Rafael Nadal’s recognition of Novak Djokovic as the best player in history reflects his humility and respect for his fellow competitor’s accomplishments. Despite facing injury setbacks and losing his record to Djokovic, Nadal remains satisfied with his career and appreciates the journey he has undertaken. With promising young players like Carlos Alcaraz emerging, the future of men’s tennis is undoubtedly filled with exciting possibilities.