Djokovic considers his own future after Nadal retires
Novak Djokovic will be losing one of his greatest rivals as Rafael Nadal has announced his retirement in 2024, and Djokovic has mixed emotions.
After Rafael Nadal withdrew from the 2023 French Open, he shocked the world by saying that 2024 could be his last year playing professional tennis. He has been suffering from hip issues since the Australian Open earlier this year.
With Nadal out, Novak Djokovic has become the heavy favorite at Roland Garros. The two players have been rivals for many years now, and as Nadal announced the possible end to his career soon, Djokovic opened up and reflected.
“That news came as a shock to everybody,” said Djokovic. “People were asking me how I felt when he said that, and I have to say that, I was always saying that he is my biggest rival. And when he announced that he’s gonna have his last season of his career, I felt part of me is leaving with him too.”
Djokovic said that the rivalry between them gave him a lot of motivation to do his best and keep playing at a high level and that they pushed each other to see who would achieve more and play better.
“Obviously Nadal not playing in the tournament here is a big loss for tennis, it’s a big loss for Roland Garros, because he’s by far the most successful player to play in this tournament in history,” said Djokovic. “So of course, it opens up a chance, an opportunity, for the rest of us to try to get a title.”
With Nadal leaving tennis soon and Roger Federer having retired last year, Djokovic will be the last player of the Big Three to be playing professional tennis. That left Djokovic thinking about his own future in tennis.
“It made me wonder and question myself and where the end of my career is going to be,” said Djokovic. “We all knew that that might be coming around the corner because of his injuries and everything and, and of course, the age and the amount of years he has played on the tour. But still, when he announced that his, the next season will be his last season. It still came as a bit of a shock to me and so I kind of have this internal conversations with myself as well.”