Novak Djokovic reveals special relationship with Rafael Nadal

Q. You practiced with Rafa the other day and I can’t remember it ever happened during competition. So I wonder how did it go along, and what kind of message is it? Because it’s rare to see two top rivals hitting together at any sport, I want to say.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I enjoyed it, to be honest. It was great. It was a lot of fun. It was very intense and competitive, as you can imagine, obviously, but in a very respectful way.

And, you know, we played a couple of days before that, an exhibition charity match in Kazakhstan. Also, we got to spend some time together. And obviously we are rivals but that doesn’t prevent us from being respectful and treating each other in the right way and our teams as well.

I have always had that kind of relationship with Rafa. And regardless of which course our careers went to and how tense maybe sometimes rivalries were, but we always had respect for each other.

It was actually very unusual because we haven’t practiced for years. And, yeah, it was strange because, you know, when I see him across the net, that means I’m playing him probably semifinals or finals of a big event, but this time it was a practice session. But nevertheless, the intensity was like a match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. Rafa, so proud of you and how even the top players respect you. You have earned this respect without any doubt. Praying that you will win Paris and Nito and make them special wedding presents for Xisca and your fans who would have loved to but could not attend your beautiful wedding. Always your loyal fan, Merlyn.

  2. We notice how often Novak uses the word respect when discussing Rafael. While I was not a great fan of his attitude at the beginning of his career, Novak has matured, and handles the press well. His talent is undeniable. Rafael has always been respectful throughout his career, and likely his parents
    and uncle taught him well. We are fortunate to experience this amazing era of tennis.🎾❤️

    • Yes, Novak has matured but still has his moments though not as bad as when he was younger. He said meditation has helped him tremendously.

      I would bet that there were moments when Rafa wanted to yell or smash a racquet. He never did. It takes more willpower, and more strength to hold that urge in rather than let loose.

  3. Rafa is so well liked and respected and very evident that he is so loved by the top ranked players. Well done Rafa what special person who are.

  4. Rafa you are a great human being and professionally great that’s what your fans love you 😘❤️😘👍

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