Rafael Nadal Stunned by Djokovic Win: 'I Underestimated Him'



by ZAIN UL ABEDIN

Rafael Nadal Stunned by Djokovic Win: 'I Underestimated Him'
© Julian Finney/Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal, the iconic tennis maestro, recently expressed his surprise at Novak Djokovic's remarkable Grand Slam achievements in the 2023 season. In a candid statement, Nadal admitted, "I imagined Djokovic winning Grand Slams this season, but I didn't imagine that he could win three." Djokovic's extraordinary feat of reaching the finals in all four Grand Slam events and clinching titles in three of them has left the tennis world in awe, especially considering his age.

At the outset of the 2023 season, Nadal held the record for the most male Grand Slam titles with an impressive tally of 22. However, Djokovic's exceptional performance this year propelled him to the top spot with 24 majors.

Nadal acknowledged Djokovic's historic achievement: "In the end, we all know that Djokovic is what he is and that he has achieved something historic." Nadal's surprise at Djokovic's triple Grand Slam victory stemmed from his belief in the formidable power of the next generation of tennis players.

He noted, "Alcaraz had a great opportunity to avoid that at Roland Garros, but what happened to him happened to him, unfortunately." Nevertheless, Nadal quickly commended Alcaraz for his historic achievement at Wimbledon.

The 2023 season presented challenges for Nadal, who began by defending his Australian Open title. Unfortunately, a psoas muscle injury led to his unexpected second-round exit, allowing Djokovic to match his Grand Slam record.

With Nadal taking a hiatus to recover from his injury, Djokovic holds the upper hand in their Grand Slam rivalry.

Nadal's Acknowledgment

After Djokovic's victory at the US Open, questions arose about whether Nadal had extended his congratulations to the Serbian superstar.

In a recent interview, Nadal clarified that he had not yet contacted Djokovic. He candidly admitted, "The truth is that I haven't sent any message to Djokovic yet out of pure ignorance." However, he acknowledged the importance of acknowledging a player's significant achievements and expressed his intention to do so.

Nadal mentioned, "I'll send it, but I haven't done it yet." He also revealed that he had sent messages to Alcaraz on his victories, highlighting his camaraderie with the younger players. Nadal, known for his sportsmanship and humility, praised Djokovic as the best player the sport has witnessed.

He emphasized the significance of numbers and statistics, stating, "I think he has better numbers than mine, and that is indisputable." Nadal's humility shone through as he refrained from letting ego overshadow reality. Looking ahead, Nadal hinted that the 2024 season might be his last, considering his health and fitness.

He expressed his aspiration: "This is my current dream, to go out on a tennis court and feel like I can play competitively. This is the first objective." Nadal concluded by expressing his desire to participate in tournaments with a special place in his heart, provided he believes he can maintain minimal competitiveness.

Rafael Nadal