Tennis fans in frenzy over 15-month first around Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic have rarely been seen at the same tournament in a while.

Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic pose for a photo and Djokovic celebrates.
Tennis fans have been left salivating after Rafa Nadal (pictured left) and Novak Djokovic (pictured right) will play in the same tournament for the first time in 15 months. (Images: Instagram/Getty Images)

Tennis fans have been left salivating after Rafa Nadal's entry into Indian Wells will see him and Novak Djokovic compete at the same tournament for the first time in 15 months. Nadal has hardly been seen on tennis tour since injuring himself at the 2023 Australian Open, which saw him crash out in the second round.

Djokovic went on to lift his 10th Australian Open title at Melbourne Park. Nadal's hip flexor injury saw him miss the season, before returning nearly a year later in Australia at the warm-up Brisbane International event.

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Unfortunately, Nadal left his fans devastated when he was forced to withdraw from this year's Australian Open after hurting the hip again. Nadal has taken nearly two months off, training back in Spain, after he pulled out of the Qatar Open.

However, Nadal will enter the mandatory Indian Wells - also known as the fifth major - as he looks to compete at the same tournament as Djokovic for the first time in 15 months. Incredibly, Djokovic has also not competed at Indian Wells since 2019.

The five-time Indian Wells champion missed a number of tournaments due to travel restrictions in the US due to Covid. Since restrictions have been lifted, Djokovic is seeking a record-breaking sixth title where he will look to bounce back from his Australian Open upset.

"It has been five years, way too long to not be part of the Tennis Paradise tournament, one of the best tournaments in the world without a doubt," Djokovic said in a video on Wednesday (AEDT) from the small, picturesque city in the southern California desert.

"It's probably the favourite Masters tournament of so many players including myself. I can't wait to come and perform once again in front of some of the best tennis fans that we have on the tour."

Djokovic reflected on his time at Indian Wells and was excited to return to one of his more illustrious tournaments. "The first time I won the title in Indian Wells, it was one of the greatest titles of my career at that point. I remember I played Mardy Fish in the finals," he added.

"I was fortunate to win the tournament another four times and played some epic matches in the finals against (Roger) Federer and (Rafa) Nadal and many of the great players in that era. I'm really looking forward to coming back."

Rafa Nadal celebrates.
Rafa Nadal (pictured) is expected to make his return at Indian Wells. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) (Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images)

Tennis fans lose it over Nadal and Djokovic update

The announcement Nadal will most likely take part in the tournament, using a protected ranking, has left fans thrilled. To make matters more exciting, the duo ran into his other on the flight over and took a selfie for fans to get excited about.

Nadal's protected ranking means it could see him draw the No.1 seed Djokovic early on in the tournament. The pair haven't played each other since the quarter-final of Roland Garros in 2022.

Nadal has already made it clear he is looking to make one final push at a Roland Garros title in his return back from injury. This season will most likely be his last in tour and Roland Garros or the Paris Olympics could be his last tournaments.

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