Novak Djokovic makes French Open admission about potential last Rafael Nadal showdown

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has admitted he would want a potential final match against his great rival Rafael Nadal to be played anywhere besides Roland Garros. 

The Serbian stressed he hopes the pair do get the opportunity to face off at least one more time and said a match anywhere “would be amazing for us and for the tennis world.”

Djokovic and Nadal form arguably the greatest rivalry in the history of men’s tennis, having played an ATP record of 59 matches, with the Serbian holding a 30-29 edge.

Three of the duo’s last four encounters have come at the French Open, with Nadal winning the 2020 final in straight sets, before they split four-set thrillers in the 2021 semi-finals and 2022 quarter-finals respectively.

Nadal has won eight of his 10 clashes with Djokovic at Roland Garros, with the pair having met more times at the clay-court Grand Slam than at any other tournament.

The 37-year-old Mallorcan, who has not competed since this year’s Australian Open due to a hip injury, is set to make his return to the tour in 2024.

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In an interview with Marca, Djokovic was asked if there was any event in particular where he would like a possible last match with Nadal to be played.

“I think a lot of people would like it to be at Roland Garros. Why not? Although if you give me a choice I would say anywhere else. Roland Garros wouldn’t be bad, but Nadal is the player who has won there the most times in the history of the tournament,” the 36-year-old said.

“I think anywhere would be amazing for us and for the tennis world. It would be kind of like a last dance. I don’t know how many more times we’ll have the chance to play each other or if we’re going to play each other. I hope we do because that’s what everybody wants and I do too.”

The world No 1 was also asked if he would play until the age of 50 if he could have a guarantee that he would equal or break Nadal’s staggering record of 14 French Open titles.

“I don’t know, I’m sure my wife wouldn’t be very happy. I am very satisfied with everything I have achieved. I do not have to look at Rafa’s record in Paris. I have many that I’m proud of and that are part of history. If I were to retire right now, I could only be happy and proud of what I’ve done.”

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