Rafael Nadal makes regrets confession and admits what Novak Djokovic ‘has done better’ than him

Ewan West
Rafael Nadal after a match
Rafael Nadal post match

Rafael Nadal has admitted he “would change many things” in his life and career and explained what his great rival Novak Djokovic has “done better” than him.

The Spaniard reflected that he has made the “wrong decisions” about protecting his physique and also feels Djokovic’s playing style has given him the edge in this regard.

Nadal has not competed since suffering a hip injury in his second round loss to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open in January. The 37-year-old underwent surgery on the issue in June, having initially expected to be out for only six to eight weeks.

While Nadal has been forced him to miss “four and a half years of Grand Slams” due to injuries in his career, Djokovic has largely managed to avoid serious injury issues.

The 36-year-old Serbian secured a record-extending 24th men’s Grand Slam title by winning his fourth US Open crown earlier this month.

In an interview with Movistar+, Nadal made the honest admission that he regrets how he has managed his body, suggesting this may have contributed to some of his physical problems.

“I missed four and a half years of Grand Slams due to injury, this is the reality. But that’s also sport. That’s not why I’m better than Djokovic, because I played less,” assessed the Mallorcan.

“He had a physique and a way of playing that allowed him to compete more than me. I have no choice but to recognise this, I did what I could. Sometimes I come back and win three Grand Slams, but it’s unlikely.

“I would change many things in my life and my career. I have made wrong decisions when it comes to protecting my physique. Djokovic, he has done better because his way of playing has allowed him to play more than me. But I was wrong for thinking that my decisions were good.”

The 22-time major champion also addressed how much he is currently able to train on court and in the gym as he continues to work towards a potential comeback.

“40 minutes three days a week, and a lot of gym. The ideal would be to be able to compete as much as possible and play the tournaments that I most want,” said Nadal.

“I play without moving with the intensity I usually do, even though the ball goes fast. I hold back, even though I feel like moving. I have always been bored during times of recovery, but it has never taken away my focus or enthusiasm.”

The 37-year-old won his most recent Grand Slam title at the 2022 French Open, defeating Casper Ruud in the final. Nadal also triumphed at the Australian Open in 2022, coming back from two sets down to edge Daniil Medvedev in an epic final, but has suffered with various injuries since Indian Wells that year.

In a press conference announcing his withdrawal from the this year’s French Open in May, Nadal revealed that 2024 would likely be his last on tour.

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal reveals why he has not congratulated Novak Djokovic on winning his 24th major