Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been the players to beat in the last couple of years, sharing the previous four year-end no. 1 ranking honors and winning the Majority of the Major titles to remain in touch with Roger Federer.
Nadal claimed the 20th Major title at Roland Garros last October, matching Federer’s record for the first time and hoping to pass him in June at his beloved Major event. On the other hand, Novak had to start from the bottom at the beginning of the previous decade, delivering incredible tennis to leave everyone behind him and move only two Majors away from Federer and Nadal.
Rafael Nadal spoke about rivalries and ambitions.
The Serb has achieved the most weeks as world no. 1, passing Roger Federer and setting the ultimate goals of finishing in front of Roger and Rafa as the player with most Major titles in history.
Sharing his thoughts about the GOAT race, Rafa said that Novak is more obsessed with records than him, speaking about them often and staying focused on that goal. While seeing nothing wrong in that, the Spaniard has a different approach, always trying to improve his game and work hard but never getting frustrated if he fails to win a tournament.
Nadal and Djokovic made early exits in Monte Carlo last week and will try to win titles in Spain and Serbia, respectively. “I like to enjoy life. I’m very proud that I have been a professional tennis player for years while always finding time to enjoy things off the court.
I’m 34, and I have to find time to relax. I will not be playing until 45, although I always try to do the best things and extend my career. The retirement will come one day, but I’m happy with what I’m doing now. I’m enjoying my tennis life and would love to extend it for a couple of more years.
I’m still passionate and want to win more Majors, but I’m not obsessed with that like Novak Djokovic. Don’t get me wrong; it’s nothing negative, and those things mean a lot to him. Novak is always focused on records; I respect that, but my approach is different. I’m also ambitious, but probably in another way than Novak,” Rafael Nadal said.