Latest Stories

Tennis: Djokovic looking forward to long rivalry with Nadal


PARIS – World number one Novak Djokovic is looking forward to a new rivalry at the summit of men’s tennis after losing a hard-fought French Open final against Spanish claycourt king Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia pose for photographers ahead of the mens final match at the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 11, 2012. Nadal is trying to pass Bjorn Borg as the all-time record-holder for French Open titles, and Djokovic is trying to become the first player since Rod Laver to win four straight Grand Slam tournaments. AP/Bernat Armangue

The 25-year-old Serb insisted the sport’s biggest matchup was still between 30-year-old Roger Federer, holder of a record 16 Grand Slam titles, and Nadal, who at 26, already has 11 majors topped by a record seven at the French Open.

But he clearly singled out Nadal as his main foe.

“We are very young, and we played over 30 times against each other, and hopefully we can have many more battles in the next years,” Djokovic said.

Five-time major winner Djokovic – who holds the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open titles – on Monday missed his chance of emulating Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) by holding all four Grand Slams at once.

A disastrous double fault cost him a chance to stretch the Roland Garros final to five sets against Nadal after an overnight rain delay – only the second time in history that the final had to be fought in the third week.

“I think the sport is experiencing some really good times now,” said Djokovic, who beat a struggling Federer in straight sets on Friday to set up the final with Nadal.

Happily married Federer believes he has a few more years of top-level competition left in him, including playing at the 2016 Olympics, even though he turns 31 in August and is busy looking after twin girls when not on court.

Djokovic’s immediate goal is to take a week off before practising on grass to defend his title at Wimbledon, an event dominated in the past decade by Federer, who holds six All England titles, just one short of the seven held by Pete Sampras.

“Obviously Federer and Nadal have still, I think, the biggest rivalry in the sport,” Djokovic said.

“Because they have been at the top for so many years, they have been so dominant. I mean, I just joined that rivalry, I think, you know, just recently, couple years ago,” he said.

“We’re attracting a lot of attention to men’s tennis because we have, you know, these two great players, and (Andy) Murray, myself, and we really have some great players, some charismatic players, a lot of personalities.”

“This is good for tennis,” said Djokovic, who was stunned by his loss to Nadal, even though he kept his top world ranking.

“It’s beautiful. These matches make you feel like all the work that you put into it is worth (it), you’re living for this moment to play finals of any Grand Slam, and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” he said.

“I lost this time. But I believe that there are still many years to come, and hopefully I can come back stronger.”

Nadal himself paid tribute to his rivals for driving his desire to win.

“I feel very lucky to achieve all that I achieved until today,” he said after his latest victory.

“I have great rivals.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: French Open , Novak Djokovic , Rafael Nadal , Sports , Tennis

  • RomyLitz

    It was not a hard fought fight it was a one sided fight if the rain did not intervene. Nadal is the king of clay and that is denomination and no rivalry as of now.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem
  • Tanchanco, former NFA head; 83
  • Pope seeks to bring faith to ‘ends of the Earth’
  • Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  • Positive in UAE, returning Filipino nurse tests negative
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • ‘Pacquiao a great ambassador for basketball’
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Awarded TV couple brings Jesus’ life to the big screen
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace