Rafael Nadal’s most recent Grand Slam win came at the French Open in 2022, and with Novak Djokovic having overtaken his mark for most major titles in men’s tennis, the Spanish player conceded that his rival 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 majors, 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 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,” he added.
“I think that with respect to titles, Djokovic is the best in history and there is nothing to discuss about that.”
Nadal has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, missing the past three majors with a lingering hip issue and sitting out Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021.
He has not played in a tournament since losing in the second round of the Australian Open in January and said in May that he expected 2024 to be the final season of his tennis career.
However, he told AS doesn’t want his injury history 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.”
Nadal, 37, also spoke about fellow Spaniard and new kid on the block Carlos Alcaraz, the 20-year-old winner of this year’s Wimbledon.
“He has been the world No. 1 until recently. Although he’s very young right now, practically the only rival I see for him is Djokovic,” Nadal said.
africa.espn.com reports that Nadal, despite losing his Grand Slam record to current world No. 1 Djokovic, is more than happy with what he has achieved in his career.
“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,” Nadal said.
“What is, is, and what is not, is not. I say this: I am very satisfied with everything that I have done.”