Djokovic vs. Nadal: One of Tennis’ Fiercest Overlooked Rivalries

There can be no doubt that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are two of the best tennis players of all time. Between them, they boast an impressive 38 Grand Slam triumphs and 171 career titles. Throughout the 2010s, the Serbian and the Spaniard became embroiled in one of the sport’s fiercest rivalries, although it somewhat gets overlooked because of Nadal’s competition with Federer. So, let’s delve into the numbers surrounding the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry.

Swapping Wins and Losses

Thus far in their careers, Djokovic and Nadal have faced each other 57 times, and there’s very little to separate the pair. It speaks volumes about their consistency at the highest level that they’ve often met at the latter stages of Grand Slams and tour events, with both vying to win tennis’ most sought-after prizes. In 2011, they faced each other at the Wimbledon final. On this occasion, the Serbian came out on top, winning by three sets to one. Ten years later, Djokovic is +150 in tennis betting to repeat the feat in London, while the tennis betting tips also pit him as a favorite to triumph at Roland Garros.

To date, Djokovic and Nadal have squared off on 57 occasions, with their first meeting coming back at the 2007 French Open. During the late-2000s, the Spaniard often got the better of his rival, winning five of the opening six matches between the pair. However, it’s a testament to Djokovic’s revival that he fought back over the following decade. The 18-time Grand Slam winner has now won 29 matches against Nadal, while the Spaniard has triumphed in the other 28. That said, the last time they met in a Grand Slam final, the Spaniard lifted the 2020 French Open trophy following a straight-sets victory over Djokovic.

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Overshadowed by Federer’s Competition with Nadal

Few can argue that the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry isn’t the most tightly contested head-to-head battle of the 21st century. However, for all of their action-packed games, their direct competition is often overshadowed by Roger Federer’s rivalry with Nadal. That said, from a head-to-head standpoint, there’s a more clear-cut victor in this battle, with the Spaniard winning 24 of their 40 games. During the late-2000s, the pair often met in major finals, and their direct competition has played a pivotal role in each of them winning 20 Grand Slams.

Despite Federer’s and Nadal’s battle to hold the most Grand Slam titles in tennis history, their rivalry hasn’t been as physically demanding as the Spaniard’s duels with Djokovic. According to Sportskeeda, Nadal’s 29 losses to the Serbian is the most that he’s suffered against any one player. This is also the case in reverse, with Djokovic losing to the Spaniard more than any other competitor.

Their Rivalry Could Last for a Few More Years

Both Djokovic and Nadal are 34 years old, meaning that they’re in the latter stages of their careers. However, if they opt to follow in Federer’s footsteps, they could continue playing for at least another five years. Should they choose to compete for a little longer, it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the last of their fierce on-court rivalry.

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