Rafael Nadal has made the stunning claim that Novak Djokovic would have been “frustrated” had he failed to capture the grand slam singles record. In comments made to Movistar, the 22-time grand slam champion also indicated that he was content that he left no stone unturned during his career.
“I’m not frustrated for a simple reason,” Nadal told Movistar. “I believe that, within my means, I have done everything possible to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible for me”.
Nadal also made the claim that Novak had an unmatched intensity throughout his career:
“Novak could be frustrated because he lives everything more intensely and that’s why he’s the best.”
Nadal proceeded to praise Djokovic’s longevity, and had this to say about his own career:
“I have been one of the most inactive players on the circuit for many years,” Nadal said. “I’ve missed four and a half years of Grand Slams. That’s what the sport is all about. Djokovic is also more successful because he has had a level of fitness/physique that has allowed him to play more than me.”
On his chances of returning to the top of the sport, Nadal was a little more coy:
“I would like to play again, to be competitive,” he said. “But I’m not expecting to come back and win Roland Garros or Australia, so that people are not disoriented”.
“I am fully aware that at the time when I am in my life, it is a distant idea. I don’t say ‘impossible.’ I’ve said it a thousand times, things change very quickly in sport.”
Nadal also indicated that ending his career at the Olympics would be a nice ending, but also implied he could continue his career for an indefinite period longer if good health permitted him to do so:
“The 2024 Olympics in Paris would be a nice end to my career if I feel good,” he said. “My schedule can change if I feel I can have a chance to win at Roland Garros.”
“If suddenly the body recovers after the long layoff I’ve had and I feel strong and energetic to continue – I’m saying one thing but then may do another”.