Novak Djokovic makes ‘nicer’ confession as he compares current rivalries to Federer and Nadal rivalries

Shahida Jacobs
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at the Laver Cup

Novak Djokovic admits he “gets along better” with the current top players than he did with his fellow Big Three rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The trio of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal dominated tennis for more than two decades and their rivalries were often tense on the court while Djokovic has made no secret of the fact that he is not close with the Swiss or Spaniard away from tennis.

Only recently the Serbian revealed that Federer “didn’t like” his behaviour during the early stages of his career.

“I know certainly Federer didn’t like the way I was behaving at the beginning. I think it didn’t sit with him well. I don’t know about the others,” he said.

“I guess I wasn’t the favourite type of guy to some of the top guys because I was not afraid to say that I want to be the best player in the world. I was kind of – not kind of – I was confident, and I felt like I have the game to back it up.

“I never, ever lacked respect. Whenever I start a match, before the match or finish the match, I would always greet the opponent, always acknowledge. Respect is something that I was taught that needs to be present regardless of what is happening.”

Djokovic did go on to become the best player in the world as he has won 24 majors and remains at the top of his game as he is still No 1 in the ATP Rankings.

However, the Big Three tug of war is on the wane as Federer retired in 2022 while Nadal has struggled with injury over the past year and is also expected to hang up his racket after the 2024 season.

But Djokovic has formed some new rivalries with Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner over the past few years and he made an interesting confession about his relationship with the trio compared to Federer and Nadal.

“I am really enjoying the rivalries I have with all those guys. Alcaraz, Medvedev, Sinner, everybody near the top I get along with quite nicely,” he told Serbian media – as per Tennis Majors.

“If I were to compare my relationship with them to the one I had with Federer and Nadal, the relationship with my younger fellow players is much better, nicer. I enjoy it.”

Asked to explain why he gets along better with the current crop he replied: “I don’t know, it’s just more open, the younger guys are more communicative. We just get along better, that’s it.”

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