Tennis world erupts over Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal moment

Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, pictured here at the Madrid Open.
Things looked very frosty between Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal at the Madrid Open. Image: Twitter

Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal have shared a rather frosty exchange at the Madrid Open in their first face-to-face encounter of the year.

The tennis champions crossed paths on the practice court on Sunday ahead of the Masters 1000 event in the Spanish capital.

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Nadal was finishing a practice session when Djokovic was just about to start his, and the pair exchanged a cordial handshake as they crossed paths.

While some fans saw it as a nice meeting between the two superstars, others noted that it looked very frosty.

The exchange only last about two seconds before both men walked away from each other.

Neither player offered a smile or any words to the other, with the relationship appearing very tense.

While Nadal and Djokovic have been long-time rivals on the court, it remains unclear how they feel about each other off the court.

Nadal angered Djokovic fans in January with his comments regarding the World No.1's visa issues and subsequent deportation from Australia.

The Spanish champion said Djokovic could have avoided all the dramas if he just got vaccinated.

"In some way I feel sorry for him," Nadal told the media in Melbourne.

"But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lots of months ago, so he makes his own decision."

"If he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem.

"He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences."

Some suggested that was the reason for the cold exchange in Madrid on Sunday.

Nadal and Djokovic not happy with Wimbledon ban

Speaking to reporters in Madrid, Nadal and Djokovic both criticised Wimbledon's decision to exclude players from Russia and Belarus due to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The two tennis greats said on Sunday that Wimbledon had acted unfairly.

“I think it’s very unfair on my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues," Nadal said.

"It’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war. I’m sorry for them.

“Wimbledon just took their decision ... the government didn’t force them to do it.

“Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard.”

Rafa Nadal, pictured here speaking to the media ahead of the Madrid Open.
Rafa Nadal speaks to the media ahead of the Madrid Open. (Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Djokovic compared the situation of the excluded players to what he went through in Australia.

“It’s not the same thing, but going through something similar earlier this year for myself, it’s frustrating knowing that you’re not able to play,” he said.

“I still stand by my position that I don’t support the (Wimbledon) decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is.”

The All England Club has justified its decision in a statement first posted on Twitter.

“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships,” the statement said.

with agencies

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