The Novak Djokovic – Rafa Nadal rivalry has experienced a break in 2023 due to the Spaniard’s injury, but everything indicates that in 2024 it will have new chapters again and it is also very possible that they will be the last in history. Rafa commented last May that it would surely be “his last active season.” For this reason, there has been a lot of news that has been made throughout this year comparing the achievements of both and trying to settle the eternal debate about which of the two is better.
Actually, it is difficult to lean towards one or the other, since both have more than enough arguments to be considered the best tennis player in the history of tennis. However, the truth is that Djokovic is obsessed with not giving rise to debate and breaking all the records that other players achieved before. A goal that he is largely achieving, since he is the tennis player with the most weeks at number 1 (401), with the most Grand Slams (24) and also with the most Masters 1,000 (40) and Masters Cups (7).
On the other hand, there is a statistic where Nadal is far superior and which at the end of the season has once again gained relevance. Novak Djokovic arrived in Malaga with the aim of winning his second Davis Cup and we saw something unlike him when he plays for himself, but what we are accustomed to when he does it with the Serbian shirt.
Nole wasted three match points against Sinner to seal his team’s place in the final of the tournament and then clearly lost the decisive doubles, which took Italy to the final and not Serbia despite the fact that they were in the hands of Djokovic. One more disappointment with the colors of his country and that leaves him especially touched because it adds to other bitter afternoons in the Davis Cup and in the Olympic Games, his cursed tournament.
Nadal, insurance for Spain
If we compare what Djokovic usually experiences in each country competition with what Nadal does, we see an abysmal difference. To begin with, the Spaniard has won two Olympic golds, one in singles, in Beijing 2008 and another in doubles with Marc López, in Rio de Janeiro 2016. For his part, the Serbian has only achieved one bronze, in Beijing 2008, while that his other participations have ended in tears, those in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo being the most notable.
In Brazil, Nole lost in the first round to Juan Martín Del Potro and left the court crying. However, the worst happened to him in Japan, when he had the semifinal match against Zverev in his hand and he mentally collapsed to the point that he ended up losing even the bronze – to Pablo Carreño. In that one match he ended up completely out of his mind, breaking several rackets and screaming non-stop at his box.
Djokovic, out of his mind at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021)AFP
That was not all and she also lost along with Nina Stojanovic in third and fourth place in the mixed doubles by not showing up due to a supposed shoulder injury, although in reality it was more a result of the desperation of leaving empty-handed in the category than I really wanted to. For a moment she saw herself with two golds and ended up leaving without metal and with the feeling of having lost her best opportunity to get the only thing missing from her record.
Things don’t get better in the Davis Cup either. Serbia has only achieved one ‘salad bowl’, in 2010, and has wasted the best years of Nole, in which they could have become a power, but where they have finally had to console themselves with having one of these cups in their showcases.
Nadal has five Davis
Meanwhile, Nadal has won this historic tournament five times, being the main protagonist in most of them. Rafa has always been a guarantee in the qualifiers, with 29 wins and only one loss in singles, in addition to having delivered in doubles whenever he has been needed.
Djokovic cannot say the same, and the fact is that, although he has achieved 40 victories in the competition, he has lost all the matches played against the top 5 (0-4), something that also happens in the Olympics (0-3). Two competitions that are becoming torture for the Serbian and in which Nadal clearly surpasses him.
This has great meaning for Nole. The tennis player from Belgrade is the idol of his country and although on an individual level he has achieved everything and more, he has never been able to bring his country too much joy in international competitions.
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