Novak Djokovic hopes to see Rafael Nadal on court in 2024 – ‘We want to see a healthy Rafa’
Novak Djokovic feels it is important for the sport of tennis that Rafael Nadal – who he described as “one of the greatest legends of tennis in the history of the game” – returns to action next season.
Nadal announced in May that he would miss his Roland Garros title defence due to his hip injury and on Friday he revealed that he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left psoas.
It has since been announced that the 22-time Grand Slam winner would be out of action for at least another five months, but he is determined to make a comeback in 2024.
The Spaniard, who turned 37 on Saturday, has already confirmed that next year will most likely be his final season as a professional tennis player.
Djokovic has never made a secret of the fact that he considered Nadal is biggest rival and he hopes the tennis world will see him in action again next year.
“It was his birthday [Saturday], and he announced that he got his surgery,” the Serbian said after his victory over Juan Pablo Varillas in the fourth round at Roland Garros on Sunday.
“I got one surgery in my career on the elbow, and I know how hard it is to get back.
“It’s just one of those things that you don’t want any athlete to go through. Sometimes I guess it’s necessary. For him it’s been several times now throughout his career.
“I don’t know what the severity of or the nature of his injury is, but, you know, if he got on a surgery table, it means there was no other solution.
“So, you know, I really hope that, yeah, his rehabilitation process can go well and that we can see him next season.
“I think that he’s so important for our game on and off the court, one of the greatest legends of tennis in the history of the game.
“We want to see a healthy Rafa, no question about it, playing for what he has announced his last season. You know, hopefully he’s gonna be able to do that.”
Nadal played only four matches during the 2023 season with his record 1-4 – his only won came in the first round of the Australian Open. The Spaniard is currently at No 15 in the ATP Rankings, but he is set to slip outside the top 100 after Roland Garros while he will most likely drop out of the top 300 after Wimbledon.
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