Rafael Nadal congratulates Novak Djokovic on winning 20th career grand slam

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer attend the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf=Astoria on August 23, 2013 in New York City. // Getty Images North America

Rafael Nadal took to Twitter to congratulate Novak Djokovic on his 20th major win after he beat Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final to complete a hat-trick of Grand Slam titles in 2021.

Novak Djokovic also paid “great tribute” to Rafa and Roger in his victory speech when asked what the milestone meant to him.

52 comments

  1. Djokovic has now the momentum. He had that momentum from the moment he won against nadal at the french open. He didnt expect to win against nadal at the french open that win gave him huge amount of confidence.

    This wimbeldon tournament to be honest was very boring without the presence of nadal. Nadal absence was very mucht felt. I believe that djokovic won wimbeldon largly because of a lack of resistance from his opponents and a lot choking i especially refering to shapovalov in the semifinal.

    Now that federer is out of the picture and the so called next generation turned out to be useless and not ready at all to take over from the big 3 is now up to rafa to stop nole momentum.

    Good decision from rafa to skip wimbeldon and the olympics I expect a fully recharged nadal back for the hardcourt season. I am ready also other websites and i see a lot reactions from people but also from analysts who have written nadal off because he didnt win the french open. Also I noticed that the bbc commentators were fully in the tank for djokovic.

    After djokovic won the french open i express my huge appreciation for djokovic accomplishments but after reading some comments of him and some of the disgraceful nationalistic comments made by ivanisevic and others I truly hope djokovic momentum will come to an end in the hardcourt season.

    Everyone is saying that djokovic will win the us open. I disagree with that and the reason past results of nadal at the us open. Nadal has beaten djokovic there twice and won four times the us open and yes novak hasnt lost a match on hardcourt or even a set since the us open final of 2013.

    But it starts with believing right. If nadal can lose at the french open then why cant djokovic lose at the us open. I truly hope that the both of them will face eachother before the us open in torono or cincinnati if nadal can pull out a upset by beating djokovic on hardcourt then who knows what will happen with djokovic confidence

    • Djokovic is on a roll and full of confidence and will be hard to stop in New York. Rafa can do it and I would love him to do it of course but Djokovic’s game is perfectly suited to hard courts, as his career results show. For me his style of play has always been too monotonous. He is a ‘machine’ on court and relies heavily upon his consistency and movement, which, together, enable him to wear his opponents down in long rallies. Hard courts facilitate this because, unlike clay courts, they always give a true and very predictable bounce. There is no flare in his game that I can see.
      I much prefer dynamic players who are exciting to watch, even if they do make a few more unforced errors. (I am hoping that Shapovalov can continue to develop his game and his mental resilience when under pressure. He is an exciting player and very courageous in his shot-making, which is much more entertaining to watch.) There is nothing in Djokovic’s game that is exciting to watch and none of his shots can compare with Rafa’s curving topspin forehand down the line!
      Unfortunately, Djokovic may well end up with more slams than Rafa but he will never be loved as Rafa is loved. Unlike Djokovic, Rafa combines greatness with modesty and genuine respect for everyone around him. When they retire, I am confident that Rafa will be more content and fulfilled and, ultimately, happier than Djokovic ever could be.
      As for Goran’s ridiculous comments about Rafa, they need to be taken with a pinch of salt. What does he know! I suspect he is not very bright. I don’t really understand why Djokovic would even hire him. He won one Major (Wimbledon) and would not have won that without his serve. (Perhaps that is why he was hired: to teach Djokovic how to serve like he did! There was nothing else to his game really. I wouldn’t give him or anything he says, the time of day!
      Let’s hope that one or more of the young ‘big hitters’ take Djokovic down in the hard court swing. He needs to be humbled and the sooner the better.

  2. Hi to all the rafans !!! I just finished reading about a comment, Djokovic made in his press conference after winning his 20th GS, he said he know he it’s the best, and he knows it!!! What a arrogant bastard !!! Nadal had set records that no one will brake any time soon!!! 13 Roland-Garros,12 Barcelona, 11 Monte Carlo, 10 Roma crowns , 4 us open , 2 Wimbledon and 1 AO!!! I’m wrong here??? What Rafael Nadal had accomplished its phenomenal!!! So had we measures a Goat??? Oh I forgot!!! 2 Olímpico Gold medal!!! Djokovic doesn’t have such resumes, or the humbleness and class Rafael Nadal possess… for me, Novak Djokovic always will be GBOAT:greatest Bastard of all times !!! Not class whatsoever!!!

    • I’m not going to go to the lengths of calling Novak the “b” word as Tatmalo has, but on listening to Novak’s press conference, I certainly felt i was listening to a boxer talking after a he’d won a heavyweight title match.

      He has immense confidence which has come from serial winning and that confidence and belief did come across as arrogance in his press conference.

      “I know I have a very complete game”

      “I felt like I was in control of the match from the beginning of the second set”

      “I felt like I’ve improved in all areas [over the last decade]: mental strength, experience, understanding of how to cope with the pressure in the big moments, how to be a clutch player when it matters the most…”

      “Age is just a number. I don’t feel that I’m old…” (compare that to Rafa’s attitude towards age).

      “I feel that I’m probably the most complete that I’ve been as a player right now in my career…I consider myself best and I believe that I’m the best otherwise I wouldn’t be talking confidently about winning slams and making history”.

      Then you get Ivenisevic who thinks Novak is a god who can do no wrong “Working with him is a previlige, it’s an honour, it’s everything. For me Novak is the best ever….he’s amazing…it’s impossible to believe you can beat him.”

      “We are from [the] Balkans. For people from [the] Balkans, everything is possible. When nobody expects anything, we create everything. We are very very special, special people there”

      Ughh!!!

      Novak and his coach don’t know the meaning of humility. Roger has his faults, but I’ve never heard him or his coach brag in this way, even though he has been at the top in terms of grand slams and other records long before Novak announced himself. The same goes for Serena Williams.

      Novak is fake and unless someone, anyone, steps it up and beats him at the US Open, I’m afraid the Djokovic Juggernaut will just keep on rolling!

  3. My post ended up all the way at the bottom (very annoying), so here it is again with a few tweaks.

    I’ve come accept that, once the “Big Three” have hung up their racquets, it’s very likely that Novak will have the most grand slams. But what will it have taken him to get there?

    Rafa and Roger have reached 20 grand slams with much less extreme physical effort, whereas Novak has gone and will go to any lengths to achieve his ultimate goal: gluten-free diet, constant stretching, carrying an oxygen chamber to the US Open, floating yoga and other extreme exercises, employing several different coaches to give him the edge, screaming at umpires and other officials when things are not to his liking and the list goes on….

    All three players have different personalities and private lives. The question is whether Rafa and Roger were prepared to go to such extreme lengths in pursuit of excellence. Obviously not.

    I suspect deep down, that Rafa will be more accepting of Novak getting the biggest haul of grand slams than Roger will be, if it happens.

    At the end of it all i just want Rafa to be satisfied and content in knowledge that he’s tried his hardest to be the best he can be within the paramters he’s set.

    Who knows, maybe now Novak has caught up, Rafa might not feel the pressure in the same way.
    Looking ahead to the US Open, I hope Rafa will have fixed his serve and cut down on the unforced errors.

    Wishing our champ the enegy, confidence and belief to mount a successful challenge at the final grand slam of the year.

    • not only the serve but also the backhand and make some changes like hitting more the forehand down the line or returning down the line instead of predictable returning cross.

      But moreover fixing the nerves

      • Yes, i agree – those areas as well. Novak will continue to target Rafa’s backhand (the weaker wing)to get him out of position, so that he can hit to the open space.

  4. There was no doubt in my mind that Rafa would congratulate ND but I did wonder what he would say. Rafa’s heartfelt congratulatory tweet is a testament to his kindness.

    Roger’s tweet came early but it didn’t sound as if he was thrilled to have a third member in the “20 Club.” A glaring omission is that he forgot to send his tweet to @DjokerNole. Instead, he sent out a general tweet. Roger being Roger.

    I have juxtaposed both tweets to make it easier to compare them.

    Roger Federer
    @rogerfederer
    Congrats Novak on your 20th major. I’m proud to have the opportunity to play in a special era of tennis champions. Wonderful performance, well done!
    12:58 PM · Jul 11, 2021

    Rafa Nadal
    @RafaelNadal
    Congrats @DjokerNole on this amazing achievement. 20 Grand Slam titles is huge and it is amazing that we are 3 players tied on this. Well done and, again, congrats to you and your team for this!
    @Wimbledon
    4:24 PM · Jul 11, 2021

    RAFA ROCKS

    • Indeed, Margo. I noticed the difference when I first read both congratulatory messages. Yes, a heartfelt one from Rafa and quite a succint one from Roger, as I’d anticipated.

      It’s become quite crowded at the top and I’m wondering just how Roger truly feels, sharing the top spot with 20 grand slams, when he’s spent so long out in front.

      • Roger was in front…before Rafa appeared.

        He has withdrawn from the Olympics citing a “knee setback” but hopes to be back “later this summer.”

  5. Goran doesn’t know what to say, he says Rafa was scared of what, cos Rafa has won the RG 13 times I mean come on Goran, i think u and ur crew u the one who was scared I wonder ur heart bit was higher than anyone, ur eyes was as big as an owl, leave Rafa alone, talk about ur BOSS, u fail to do that in ur times, ur time is up baba yhooo

  6. Dear Nikos, I agree with all your pints about Rafa. Don’t really know why your comments are addressed to me in particular. 😊

    • Dear Rafa fan 1,
      My comments were mainly inspired by yours and are addressed to you to verify how true you were to write them, by a man who is constantly examining both referenced tennists from day one and could easily have been supporting one of them or both due to ethnic reasons at least. But No ! Only Rafa !

  7. This triumvirate continues to create the golden era of tennis. They are leading by example. Rafael Nadal has taught us how to achieve triumph tempered by humility, and has shown us grace and generosity in the face of defeat. Writers are mired in the GOAT debate, but these three have transcended that exercise🤯💫🙏

  8. Rafa is in a class of his own. No one and I mean no ne can hold a candle to him. Novak is an excellent tennis player but take away the I I I me me me, mental exercises and strength, luck and the absolute belief and conviction in and of himself he wouldn’t have come so far.

    In any case congratulations to Novak on his 20th and everything working out for him.

    I can only hope Rafa finds all he needs to play and win the us open. Actually, I’m sorry to say that I’m feeling anxious. I can’t bear the way Ivanisevic and other Serbs talk about and comment on Rafa but it shows their true colours.

    Rafa may you reach your peak, your zenith and continue in that vein for a long time more.

    You are the best and always will be the greatest in every way for us Rafa fans!!!

    • Dear RafaFan 1,

      I am a Greek and I suppose that a lot of people would think that I am supporting either Djokovic (Balkan Serbian brothers) or Stefanos Tsitsipas at least (what a Greek would I be if I did not ?)

      Well, since 2005 I have become a Rafa fan and I continue to be for a multitude of reasons:

      1) Rafa has always kept his anger in reasonable limits inside court, never broke a racket, never screamed like a lunatic, never ripped his shirt after a win shouting like a wolfman, never made any despicable antics just to become a crowd favourite even for some minutes like someone has done throughout his career.

      2) Rafa has tried persistently to keep his private life away from publicity, never used his family members or tennis team members to verbally attack other players like someone’s family members and team members have often done against Federer or Rafa.

      3) Rafa perhaps has a small disadvantage, he is more humble than he should probably be. He neither thinks himself with grandeur nor brims with arrogance like someone does in multitude of times.

      4) I do not think Rafa would to go to extremes to win anything like someone has often done in the past (ie arguable use of so-called oxygen chambers to speed up recuperation etc)

      That is why I think people will never love somwone the way they love Rafa.

      Personally I value ethics and social behaviour more than any number of GS, Masters etc.After all tennis is a game; nothing more or less than that.

      No ! I would never be and I can NOT be a fan of someone else than Rafa, NEVER !

      • Nikos, you are spot on! Regarding your 3rd point, I wish Rafa would shed his uncanny humility while facing Djokovic and be ruthless against him and not give him too much respect. Kinda like how he was in the French Open 2020 final.

  9. Rafa is a great person who happens to be also a great tennis player. Djokovic is a great tennis player and a very ordinary person, complete with some strange beliefs and character flaws. Rafa had the advantage of far better parenting. Rafa’s parents taught him how to handle fame and distinguish his worth as a person from his worth as a tennis player. How to keep a level head in the face of incredible fame and success and all the pressures and demands that go with it. Rafa values home, family and old friends over “all that celebrity stuff”. He’s a fierce competitor who really loves seeing others succeed and who’s deepest joy comes from feeling that win or lose, he gave it his best. Who values a tough loss like that versus Djokovic in AO ’12 over an easy win like that versus Roger in RG ’08. Rather sadly Djokovic is all about “me, me, me”.

  10. I admire rafa for sending message of congratulation to djokovic. Djokovic has now the momentum for winning the grandslam he will never get this opportunity again. I am wondering how he will deal under pressure. Serena williams couldnt handle the pressure in 2015 and couldnt get the grandslam because she lost in the semfinal of the us open.

    I fully expect a motivated nadal for the hardcourt season. If there is one thing i learned from wimbeldon is that the atp tour needs nadal more then ever. It was a boring event and the so called next generation couldnt handle the expectations and pressure and they showed that they are not ready to take it over from nadal and djokovic.

    Djokovic needs competition and the only two who can give it to him excuse the only three that can give it to him are nadal, wawrinka and thiem.

    Djokovic was very humble towards nadal. Some of his fanbase are not including the one in his team called goran ivanisevic I have read a article about him saying about nadal that he looked very scared at the french open semifinals and yesterday he said that the goat debate is over and that djokovic is the greatest of all time and we balkan people are the chosen one and can achieve impossible things.

    I hope that carlos moya can motivate nadal just by letting him read the remarks of ivanisevic

    • We are from [the] Balkans. [For] people from [the] Balkans, everything is possible,” Ivanisevic said. “When nobody expects anything, we create everything. We are very, very special, special people there.”

      Hmmmmmm🤔 and how Many grand slams did you win Goran ?
      One I believe

  11. That was very polite and classy of him. There’ve been players in the past who weren’t particularly nice about each other, and there’s no need for that. I’m getting really sick of the “GOAT” debate: I wish everyone would just accept that Rafa, Roger and Nole are all great players in their own ways, and that we’re been very fortunate to have all of them.

  12. How sad Djoko will always try to be “The One” I am sure he will win more grand slams sadly he will never be up there with Raphael and Roger – congratulations from Rafa was to be expected the person he is humble and amazing. Rafa will be back watch this space!!

  13. Rafa is always so good natured, and so generous and genuine in his praises for his rivals/opponents. I love Rafa for that (and for much more than that!).

  14. Novak always will be a arrogant, self full of himself, Bastard !!! Why such a person, should be granted by god a place among the immortals???

  15. Rafa did the gracious thing in congratulating Novak and I wouldn’t expect anything less from him.
    Even though Novak gave tribute to Rafa and Roger, he wasn’t shy to indicate that he’s been the most dominant player over the last 10 years and that he is far from done. A clear message to the rest of the field.
    Rafa can’t afford to worry too much about Novak. He just needs to focus on being the best version of himself at this current time.
    .

  16. Rafa you are beyond classy!! I for one could not be so graceful because for me it’s Rafa first then Federer, Murray and now Berretini.
    Sorry Novak is not on my list even though he is a great tennis player.
    It will be difficult for me to watch tennis when Rafa retires. Hope that’s a long time from now….
    Can’t wait to watch him at the NY open.

  17. Congrats to Novak! What an era!. Roger, Rafa and Novak all push each other. I am greatful for all three legends. I am also excited for the younger crop of talented and motivated tennis professionals. It’s such a pleasure to watch Stefanos and Matteo in the french and wimbeldon finals. They will eventually break through. Let’s not forget Denis who is right on the cusp as well. Loving this age of men’s tennis!

  18. Nole is a fit, flexible, and fierce competitor. I wish him good luck going forward. I hope he wins Olympic Gold. And finally I wish him a great loss to Rafa in US Open final. Vamos, Rafa!!!

      • yes he is he is congratulating djokovic just like rafa did we should follow his example

      • If I do not acknowledge truth then I am betraying what I believe Rafa’s character to be. I want Rafa to crush Nole. What else do I need to say?

    • So do I !!! I haven’t ever seen joker, been classy with Rafael, the way Rafael it’s with his rivals!!! But you right Kirk , we should be as classy with Rafael rivals, as Rafael it’s !!! My apologies for doubting you Kirk!!! Long live Rafael the king

    • I’ve come to accept that, once the “Big Three” have hung up their racquets, it very likely that Novak will have the most grand slams, but at what cost?

      Rafa and Roger have reached no.20 with much less physical extreme effort, whereas Novak has gone to any lengths to achieve his ultimate goal: gluten free diet, constant stretching, carrying an oxygen chamber to the 2019 US Open, having a meditation guru, floating yoga and other extreme exercises, employing several different coaches to give him the edge.

      All three players have different mindsets and different private lives. The question is whether Rafa and Roger were prepared to go to such extremes lengths in the pusuit of excellence? Obviously not.

      At the end if it all, what I want the most from Rafa is him being satisfied and content in the knowledge that he’s made every effort to be the best he can be within his set parameters.

      Maybe now that Novak has finally caught up, Rafa won’t feel the same pressure and he’ll be motivated by a new target. Looking ahead to the US Open, I hope that Rafa will have seriously addressed the areas he needs to improve: namely his serve and unforced errors. Wishing our champ the energy, confidence and belief to mount a successful challenge at the US Open.

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