Rafael Nadal has discussed his rivalries with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and explained exactly which man he believes he has had the biggest competition with during his career. The Big Three have dominated the sport for the better part of the last two decades and the Spaniard claimed that all three of them had pushed each other to their limits.
Nadal is in a unique position in the Big Three rivalry, as he is arguably both Djokovic and Federer’s biggest competitor. The world No 2 has faced the Serb 59 times and did battle with the 20-time Major champion 40 times in total, and both players would likely call the Spaniard their biggest opponent.
The 36-year-old has now had his own say, explaining that he would understand why both men would pick him as their ultimate rival. “It is true that I am Federer’s first great rival so I understand that he sees it this way,” Nadal told Marca, as the 41-year-old valued his rivalry with the Spaniard so much that he got Nadal to team up with him for his farewell doubles match at this year’s Laver Cup.
But Nadal thought he had been “more” of an opponent to Djokovic, having faced off 10 more times with the chance to continue to do battle again in the future. He continued: “Then, when Novak arrives, it’s true that Federer is still better than me but in later years I win more than Roger so I’ve also met Djokovic more times on court. In other words, I’ve been more of a rival to him than Roger.”