IMAGE: Rafael Nadal picked Novak Djokovic as the best player in the history of the sport. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters
Rafael Nadal’s last Grand Slam win came at the French Open in 2022, but with Novak Djokovic having overtaken his impressive haul of most major titles in men’s tennis, the Spaniard conceded the Serbian is the best player in history.
Djokovic’s recent win at the US Open, his third Grand Slam title this year, took his tally to 24 Grand Slams, two ahead of Nadal’s total.
“I believe that numbers are numbers and statistics are statistics. In that sense, I think he (Djokovic) has better numbers than mine and that is indisputable,” Nadal said in an interview with AS published on Wednesday.
“This is the truth. The rest are tastes, inspiration, sensations that one or the other may transmit to you, that you may like one or the other more,” the Spaniard said.
“I think that with respect to titles, Djokovic is the best in history and there is nothing to discuss about that.”
Nadal has suffered with injury issues in recent years, also missing out on the US Open in 2021 with a foot problem which had troubled him all year. However, he doesn’t want this to be used as an excuse.
“As always, everyone can see the story as they wish, saying that I suffered many injuries. Bad luck for me or bad luck that I had my body this way,” he said.
“He has had another one and in some ways that is also part of the sport. I congratulate him for everything he is achieving and it doesn’t cause me any kind of frustration.”
The 37-year-old also spoke about fellow Spaniard, the new kid on the block Carlos Alcaraz, winner of this year’s Wimbledon.
“He has been the world number one until recently. Although he’s very young right now, practically the only rival I see for him is Djokovic,” Nadal added.
Despite losing his record of Grand Slam titles to current world number one Djokovic, Nadal is more than happy with what he has achieved in his career to date.
“I said it when I was the one with the most Slams, I said it when we were tied and I say it now that I am behind. I am not going to be the one who tries, through a personal struggle, to want to be what I am not,” he said.
“What is, is, and what is not, is not. I say this, I am very satisfied with everything that I have done.”