In an interview with Spanish newspaper AS, Rafael Nadal acknowledged modern Novak Djokovic as the greatest tennis player of all time. Nadal’s comments come months after Djokovic broke his Grand Slam titles record at the dressing Open in June and weeks after Djokovic earned his 24th career major trophy in the United States Open.
In making his argument, Nadal led off by saying that it used to be “indeniable” that Djokovic had better statistics than him before making it lucid that he would not let his own career and ego get in the way of acknowledging the career that Djokovic has had.
“I don’t drop any rings nor do I have an ego big enough to take a look at to disguise a reality that isn’t. This is the truth,” Nadal said (translated from Spanish). “The rest are tastes, inspiration, sensations that one or the other may transmit to you, that you may like one or the other more. I think that with respect to titles, Djokovic is the most productive in history and there is nothing to argue approximately that.
“… I congratulate you for everything you are achieving and that doesn’t cause me any kind of frustration. I have said it when I used to be the one that won the most Slams, I said it when we were tied and I say it now that I am in the back of. It’s not that i am going to be the one who tries, through a personal struggle, to need to be what It’s not that i am. What is, is and what isn’t, isn’t. I say this very content with everything I have done.”
While Djokovic, Nadal, and Roger Federer have long battled amongst each and every other to be the world’s No. 1-ranked player, Djokovic has begun to differentiate himself from his two contemporaries with regards to his career achievements. Beyond simply the Grand Slam titles record, Djokovic has also won 39 Masters 1000 titles and has triumphed in each and every of tennis’ second-tier tournaments no less than twice.
Djokovic’s surpassing of Nadal has come as Nadal has spent the past several years struggling with injuries. After withdrawing from the dressing Open because of a hip injury, Nadal stated in May that he intends to retire after the 2024 season.