Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic enjoy mile-high reunion

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on a plane together.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had a surprise meeting while flying to the United States for the upcoming Sunshine Double.

The two have been on the sidelines for a while, with Nadal missing the Australian Open and the subsequent Middle East tour due to an injury.

However, the Spaniard has healed up and will next compete in the Netflix Slam in Las Vegas, followed by his competitive comeback at Indian Wells.

The last time Djokovic played was in the Australian Open, when he advanced to the semifinals before losing to Jannik Sinner, the eventual winner. After taking a brief hiatus to spend time with his family, the Serb is now scheduled to return to the tour in Indian Wells.

According to information published on social media, Nadal and Djokovic looked to have taken the same flight to the United States.

Using Instagram, the World No 1 posted a photo of himself with the 22-time Grand Slam winner, calling him “good company” in the process.

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A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)

The superstars of their generation have met on the ATP Tour every year at least once since their first clash all the way back in 2006 until last season when the great chain was broken by Nadal’s injury woes.

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Djokovic and Nadal’s last meeting was in the quarter-finals of the French Open in 2022.

Their rivalry has no equal in terms of the level of matches played and the sheer number.

If Djokovic can come close to maintaining his level over the next few seasons it seems likely that he will leave his big three rivals in the dust when it comes to statistical greatness.

Tennis fans have truly been spoiled for having the incredible three-way rivalry between the games biggest stars over the last 20 years.

To date we have been treated to 59 Djokovic-Nadal matches with the Serbian holding the edge by just one match.

They met only once in 2022 with Djokovic absent from the Australian Open and US Open.

Nadal was on course for another clash with Djokovic at Wimbledon but after picking up an injury he pulled out of his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.

They were also within a match of meeting at the 2022 Madrid Open but Carlos Alcaraz first beat Nadal and then knocked off Djokovic to announce his arrival as a big-match player.

Djokovic has held the edge over most players throughout his career, including just shading Nadal.

His attempts to hold off a group of young, hungry and incredibly talented players should capture the imagination of fans for the next few seasons.

We can only hope that Djokovic and Nadal meet in competitive matches quite a few more times before this incredible rivalry ends.