Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic like the battle of Spain against Serbia, says Goran Ivanisevic

Pre-match Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic won on his “home court” at the Australian Open and now the ball is back in Rafael Nadal’s “home court” at Roland Garros in the race for the most Grand Slams, according to Goran Ivanisevic.

The two tennis greats are tied at the top with 22 majors each after Djokovic drew level with Nadal on the back of winning his 10th crown at Melbourne Park on Sunday.

It has been a fascinating battle over the past few years as Roger Federer initially set the mark at 20 when he won the 2018 Australian Open, but two years later Nadal tied him at the top when he won a 13th French Open title.

Djokovic was well off the pace as he was “only” on 17, but he had a barnstorming run as he won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2021 to make it a three-way tie.

Nadal then edged ahead with wins at the Australian Open and French Open last year to move to 2022, but Djokovic has joined him at the top with his successes at Wimbledon last year and in Melbourne on Sunday.

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Djokovic’s coach Ivanisevic described the battle as a “handball match”.

“Battle of Spain against Serbia, it’s like a handball match. 22-22 for the moment. Now it’s going to be interesting this year,” he said.

Ivanisevic believes Djokovic still has a few years left to play and, despite the rise younger players like Carlos Alcaraz, it remains a battle between the Serbian and Spaniard.

“Definitely two, three more years. The way he’s taking care of his body, the way he approach about everything, the food, it’s amazing. It’s unbelievable the level,” he added.

“We talking about young guys. They’re here, it’s great for tennis, great for the future of tennis. But you still have these two guys battling. This was Novak home court, and now we going next one to Rafa home court in this handball match of 22-22.

“Yes, they are coming, Alcaraz, unbelievable. Still, if Rafa steps on the court on the French Open, for me he’s always the favorite to win the tournament.

“There are a lot of guys who can beat him, also Novak. But Rafa, it’s 14 times to win a tournament. You cannot even win a tournament at home in the (indiscernible) 14 times in a row. It’s amazing. They really push each other.

“It’s good that we have a lot of young guys. We have Stefanos [Tsitsipas] who is going to win Grand Slam definitely one day because he’s just amazing player.”

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