Novak Djokovic and Rafal Nadal’s rivalry was reignited his week when the Spanish tennis pro seemed to take aim at his opponent for being “obsessed” with racking up Grand Slams, prompting Djokovic to fire back and defend himself.
Nadal said during a recent interview with Metro that he “enjoys” playing tennis but does not obsess over it like Djokovic who has said he hopes to one day hold the record for the most Grand Slams.
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“I am happy playing tennis … I want to win more Slams, yes. No doubt about that but I never get – I mean, Novak is more obsessed about this, more focused,” he said before adding: “Not in a negative way.”
“He’s more focused on just these things and it means a lot to him all of this stuff. Like he’s always saying and talking about these records and well done for him… but it’s not my approach to my tennis career.”
Although Nadal said the remarks weren’t meant as a dig, Djokovic addressed them before this week’s Belgrade open.
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“I cannot speak on his behalf, I do not know the way he thinks, but, it is his right to voice an opinion: how he sees me in regards to records, etc,” Djokovic said, via Yahoo Sports.
“Personally, I do not feel that I am obsessed with anything in life; what I feel is passion and huge desire. I am going towards achieving my goals and I have never had a problem verbalizing it.”
He continued: “Ever since I was a young player, I did not fear voicing my goals: I wanted to be number one and to win Slams. Of course, those goals are growing – when you fulfill one, another one appears. It is my path, and it is unique, just like Rafa’s.”
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Djokovic holds 18 Grand Slam titles, just two behind Nadal and Roger Federer. Being the youngest of the three, he stands a good chance of achieving his childhood goal.