Nadal vs Djokovic the most contested rivalry



Rafael Nadal’s rivalry with Roger Federer will for-ever be remembered for a series of classic clashes, but his head-to-head record against Novak Djokovic has featured more matches and been more closely fought.

A record-breaking 59 meetings have seen Djokovic come out on top 30 times, although Nadal has won 11 of 18 Grand Slam matches. In the Open era, no men have met more often on the ATP Tour, with Djokovic and Federer having played 50 times.

It remains to be seen how often they will meet again after Nadal on Thursday withdrew from the French Open and revealed that 2024 is likely to be his last season.

Between them, Djokovic and Nadal have won a staggering 44 of the last 71 major tournaments, dating back to 2005.

“My greatest rival is Novak Djokovic,” Nadal told Globo Esporte last November.

“After all, he is the one who is closest to the number of Grand Slams. And for all the times we face each other, for our history.”

Djokovic has reigned supreme on hard courts for much of his career, winning a record 10 Australian Opens and three US Open titles.

He leads Nadal 20-7 on the surface, although Nadal holds a 20-8 edge on clay, on which he has powered to 14 French Open crowns.

The pair have only played four times on grass courts, with two victories apiece. “I respect Rafa, probably more than any other player in the world — he is the biggest rival I had in my life,” Djokovic said in 2021.—AFP