Rafael Nadal has dismissed talk of the slump in Novak Djokovic’s form ahead of their semi-final meeting at the ongoing Madrid Masters. Nadal feels that not only is the Serbian a victim of his own success, but also acknowledged that his rivalry with Djokovic has made him a better player.
Nadal believes that talk of Djokovic’s loss of form has been blown out of proportion and that despite his ongoing dismal run a vast majority of the world's players would love to be in the current world no. 2’s position.
The Daily Star quoted Nadal as saying, "On his slump, 99 percent of players would love to be in his position. We have to analyze the numbers. In his dip after Wimbledon, he won in Montreal... made the final at the US Open, the semi-finals in Shanghai, the final in the World Tour Finals."
Though Djokovic looked invincible as he picked up the French Open title last year, he has endured a tough run of form ever since and that cost the Serbian his top spot in the world rankings to Andy Murray.
Nadal believes that Djokovic is a victim of his own success, given that he dominated the men's singles circuit between 2011 and 2015 and that such a run was unprecedented. Further, given that Nadal himself is a former world no.1 who has seen many peaks and valleys of his own empathized with Djokovic’s current form saying, "When you win every single match in every tournament, that is abnormal. In history, we have never seen what he achieved during those years.”
“Let's respect his level right now because it's true that perhaps it's not as high as he used to be, but I can also tell you it's (been) a lot of years. I know because I've been
Moreover, there’s certainly no denying the fact that both Djokovic and Nadal are two of the greatest players in history and have been a part of one of the best rivalries in the modern era. And Nadal paid the ultimate tribute to their on court equation saying, "It has made me better. When you play people that are so good it always makes you give 100 percent. I think we have done damage to each other during our careers. We have taken plenty of titles from each other."
Together, along with Roger Federer and Andy Murray the ‘big four’ of men’s tennis have ensured a ‘golden era’ for tennis and Nadal conceded that despite their individual rivalries, the sport will always be the ultimate winner.
"The reality is that it's been a really good era because the matches between Djokovic, (Roger) Federer and me... we've made it many times to the final rounds, competing in the most important tournaments. "I think it has made a lot of people to come watch tennis, so that's a very positive thing."