Published On: Sun, Dec 10th, 2023
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Novak Djokovic makes ‘not friends’ admission about Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic has spent his career battling with and on the court. He admits that the trio are “not friends” of it – but he would like to change that in the future.

The trio are widely considered the greatest three tennis players of all time. They’ve shared multiple titanic contests on the court and developed rivalries as a result.

But Federer is now retired while Nadal is approaching the end of his career after recently being plagued by injuries. , on the other hand, shows no signs of slowing down and is now fighting to stay ahead of a host of rising young stars.

With his rivalries with Federer and Nadal coming to a close, he admits he’d like to see their relationships change having made a conscious decision to maintain some distance while they were competing so fiercely on the court. 

Speaking in a teaser clip for an episode of 60 Minutes being shown on US TV on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Sunday evening, Djokovic is asked by host Jon Wertheim about his relationship with Nadal and Federer.

He says: “Greatest respect is always there, at least from my side,” but admits maintaining a bit of distance has been necessary. Asked if he would like to become friends in the future, he adds: “I would like to. I would really like to. 

“Personally, I would like to. I mean, I know that obviously (laughs) we didn’t get along so well throughout our careers in, like, off court. 

“And we are not friends because, you know, we’re rivals and it’s difficult as competitors to be very close and kind of share and give insights to you know, to your life or to how you feel because, you know, it could be used against you.

“But we have shared the stage for so many years. And I think the greatest respect is always there, at least from my side, towards them. So yeah, I hope that one day, when the curtains are slightly more closed, that we are, yeah, able to sit down and, and reflect. It would be, it would be amazing.”

Djokovic will look to continue his Australian Open dominance and win the event for the 11th time in early 2024. He’ll have to contend with Nadal again as the Spaniard makes his comeback from injury.

But Nadal admitted this week that 2024 may be his last season as a player in an emotional update on his career. “There are many chances that it will be my last year without any doubt,” the former world No 1 said in a new video posted to social media. 

“There are chances that it may only be half a year, there are possibilities that it may be a full year, there are possibilities that we may not be able to reach all that…

“These are things that right now I do not have the capacity to be able to answer, this is the truth. I am only in conditions to say that I return to compete, that I continue having in my head that the normal thing is that, or that there are many possibilities that it is my last year, and I am going to enjoy the tournaments in that way.” 

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