Rafael Nadal reveals humble appreciation for Novak Djokovic

Nadal recently spoke about Djokovic the person and the player.

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There is a general thought among many tennis fans that two of the Big Three - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic - do not get along. Some think that neither Nadal nor Federer care for Djokovic. To be honest, however, many likely want that to be the case when we do not know the truth about each player's feelings.

In a recent interview with El Objective de La Sexta (via Tennis Majors), Nadal discussed not only how he felt about Djokovic the player but Djokovic the person as well. Not only did Nadal not imply he did not care for the Serbian great but the Spanish great gave Djokovic glowing praise. Nadal also did not come off as if he was playing nice, either, because ultimately what would be the point in that?

As far as Djokovic the player, Nadal said he is the best he has ever seen. He understands that some might get turned off by Djokovic destroying his rackets out of frustration, though that does not seem to happen very often anymore, but Nadal said many players did that. One should not hold Djokovic showing emotion against the player.

Rafael Nadal praises Novak Djokovic, the person and the player

Nadal also expressed what he thinks of Djokovic as a person. If, as many tennis fans might believe, Nadal and Djokovic do not get along that likely would be rooted in something more personal and not something from the matches the two have played. Maybe Rafa is jealous of Novak's 24 Grand Slams, but that certainly does not appear to be true.

In fact, Nadal said of Djokovic, "The image he projects is worse than he really is; I think he's a good person. There are moments of frustration. Novak breaks his racquet, but the next point he is ready to play at 100 percent again and it is the best I have ever seen."

The "image he projects" part is interesting as it implies Djokovic is intentionally trying to be the bad guy at times. I guess that Nadal did not mean it that way. The important part is he thinks Djokovic is a good person.

Many years from now when all of the Big Three have been retired for some time, we will probably see a different side of the relationships between the players. Maybe they will even play some exhibitions against one another. Or maybe, finally, they will share a drink.

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