Djokovic shocked by Nadal retirement news: “I feel like a part of me is leaving with him”

Novak Djokovic (#3, Serbia), the reigning champion of an era in world tennis history, was shocked to learn of the retirement of his contemporary rival and “Big Three” member Rafael Nadal (#15, Spain).

“When Nadal announced that he was going to play the last season of his career, I felt a part of me leave with him,” Djokovic said on Monday, according to ESPN.

Nadal recently held a press conference to announce that he would be missing the French Open, and he also surprised himself by announcing the timing of his retirement. “2024 will probably be the last year I play tennis,” he publicly declared at the time.

After struggling with a hip injury suffered at the Australian Open this year, Nadal tried to rehabilitate himself for the French Open, but was unable to regain 100% fitness and withdrew from the tournament. This is the first time in his career that Nadal, who played in the French Open every year from his first appearance in 1998 until last year, will skip the tournament.

Djokovic and Nadal have a long-standing rivalry, forming the “Big Three” of men’s tennis alongside the recently retired Roger Federer (SUI). They have met 59 times on the ATP Tour, with Djokovic holding a slim 30-29 head-to-head lead.

“I think Nadal is one of the biggest influences on me,” Djokovic said, “he’s the one who motivated me to keep playing.”먹튀검증

“We competed and kept pushing each other. There was always the question of who was going to achieve more and who was going to be better, so the news of Nadal’s retirement came as a shock. It also made me think about my own career and how long I want to play,” he added.

Meanwhile, the absence of Nadal, who has been so dominant on clay that he has been dubbed ‘the clay shoe’, has made it even easier for rival Djokovic to win the title. Djokovic, who is currently tied with Nadal for the most career majors won (22), would overtake the Spaniard as the all-time leader if he wins the tournament.

“One of the main reasons to compete in professional tennis is to break more records and make more history,” Djokovic said. It’s a great motivation and inspiration,” he said, expressing a strong desire to win.

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