Rafa Nadal's high praise for Novak Djokovic after career debate

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·Sports Reporter
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Rafa Nadal (pictured left) reacting after a point and Novak Djokovic (pictured right) looking down after a point at the French Open.
Rafa Nadal (pictured left) admitted Novak Djokovic (pictured right) was still in the best shape to surpass his grand slam total due to his 'spectacular' level of play. (Getty Images)

Rafa Nadal has admitted Novak Djokovic is in the best shape to overtake him in the race for most grand slams after praising the current World No.1's form.

Nadal created history to lift his 14th Roland Garros title in Paris at the age of 36, which also extended his grand slam lead (22) over both the Serb and Roger Federer (20).

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Winning the opening two grand slams of the year, which is remarkable considering he skipped the second half of 2021 due to injury, has many experts placing him as the frontrunner to finish his career with the record amount of titles.

However, Nadal has dismissed the talk surrounding his favouritism.

Nadal has hinted that his career could be coming towards its end due to his persistent foot injury.

And the Spaniard handed Djokovic a compliment over his level of play in the last few years.

"Clearly Novak is in the best position to be able to beat that because he has no physical problems, and he’s playing at a spectacular level," Nadal told the ATP.

"Federer has been out for a long time and you can always expect something special from him, but we all know how difficult it is to come back, even more so at 40. We’ll see what happens.

"As I’ve always said, it didn’t bother me when we were level, and it doesn’t bother me now that I’m two ahead. I just want to keep competing."

Reporters asked Nadal about his goals and whether a calendar grand slam was part of his aim.

However, Nadal again played down his chances and looked at Djokovic as an example.

"Nobody has done it since Rod Laver. Djokovic came closest last year. More than winning the Grand Slam, I would be content to play in all four," Nadal added.

Nova Djokovic loses World No.1 ranking

Nadal defeated Djokovic on his way to a record 14th French Open title.

While the grand slam title race is of most significance for Djokovic, the current World No.1 is also set to lose his ranking when they are updated on 13 June.

Djokovic will drop down to World No.3 with Russian Daniil Medvedev taking the No.1 spot.

This is despite Medvedev being unable to play Wimbledon due to the All England Club's ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) reacts after a point against Rafa Nadal.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) will lose his World No.1 ranking after exiting Roland Garros in the quarter-final. (Photo by Mine Kasapoglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

German Alexander Zverev will move up to World No.2.

However, in another twist, Zverev will miss Wimbledon after suffering a horrific ankle injury in his semi-final retirement against Nadal at Roland Garros.

This means Djokovic could still be the No.1 seed for Wimbledon in a few weeks.

Incredibly, Djokovic dropping out of the World Top 2 marks the end of an era.

One of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer or Andy Murray has occupied a Top 2 spot in the rankings since 2003.

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