Djokovic: “A part of me left with Rafa”
The Serb talked at his French Open press conference about Rafa Nadal likely retiring in 2024 and admitted feeling sad that the Spanish maestro won’t be on the courts for much longer.
Tennis fans have been enjoying what’s probably been the best tennis era for over 15 years. Watching Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, and Novak Djokovic play each other and see their performances at their very best is something they will never forget.
The Big Three has dominated most of the Grand Slam tournaments and the ATP 1000 tournaments over the years, leaving little chance for the rest of the players.
A few days ago, Nadal announced that he will most likely retire next year, which shocked the sports and tennis community. Djokovic was one of them and he let the journalists know when he got to Paris to play the French Open.
“It made me wonder about my career and how long I might play. When he announced he is going to have his last season, I felt part of me is leaving with him too”, Nole said.
“He has been a great motivational factor for me to keep playing and keep competing, to keep pushing each other and who’s going to achieve more. So that news came as a shock to everybody. It made me think about my career (...) I felt a little bit emotional about what he was saying”, he added.
Not in the best shape for the French Open
The Serb, who will try to make history in the sport by becoming the player with the most Grand Slam tournament titles in the men’s category (23) won’t be at his best in the French capital.
He said that his preparation for the French Open hasn’t been ideal, although he hopes things will change once he gets to the competition level in the second major of the calendar.
“I know how to manage myself and my team and look, you know, I haven’t had a fantastic preparation prior to Roland-Garros. But, you know, I’m always saying that Roland-Garros is where I want to peak. So I’m, I’m aiming for that and I’m hoping that I come to life and come to reality here”, he said.
Djokovic, a two-time champion in the Parisian tournament (2016, 2021), hasn’t had a great season on clay so far this season, losing to Lorenzo Musetti in Monte Carlo, to Dusan Lajovic in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Holger Rune in Rome.
An elbow injury got him out of the Mutua Madrid Open event, but he hopes to turn things around in Roland Garros, where he will start his quest for another major against the American Aleksandar Kovacevic.