5 unique features of the legendary Nadal vs Djokovic rivalry
No two men have ever clashed as many times on the ATP tour as has the legendary duo of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The two all-time Grand Slam title leaders behind Roger Federer have locked horns on as many as 55 occasions, with Djokovic (29) enjoying a narrow head-to-head lead after trailing for large swathes in their epic rivalry.
Nadal and Djokovic have met in all possible tournament categories on the ATP Tour: Grand Slams, ATP Finals, Masters 1000, ATP 500, ATP 250, Olympics, Davis Cup and now the ATP Cup. If one of them had been a non-European, the pair would have clashed in the Laver Cup too.
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An overwhelming 80% of their clashes have materialized on two of the grandest stages on tour: Grand Slams (15) and Masters 1000 tournaments (28), with Nadal leading in the former and Djokovic in the latter. The pair has met most often on outdoor clay (24), followed by 21 on outdoor hardcourts.
Due to the high ranking sustained by both players over a long period of time, most of Nadal and Djokovic's meetings have come at the business end of tournaments: 26 times in tournament finals and 19 times in semifinals. With the pair revisiting their legendary rivalry on the newest tournament category on the ATP tour - the inaugural edition of the 2020 ATP Cup - yesterday, let us have a look at some unique aspects of one of the most fierce rivalries in the Open Era.
#1 Nadal and Djokovic have met in more tournament categories than any other pair
Before Djokovic beat Nadal in one of the singles ties of the inaugural ATP Cup final in Sydney, the pair, along with Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych, had clashed in the most tournament categories on the ATP tour.
Federer and Berdych have clashed in all the 7 tournament categories that Nadal and Djokovic had met in before the latter pair's ATP Cup meeting.
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Following their ATP Cup meeting, Nadal leads Djokovic 9-6 in Grand Slam tournaments, and 1-0 respectively in the Davis Cup and the Olympics, while Djokovic leads the Spaniard 16-12 in Masters 1000 tournaments, 3-2 at the ATP Finals, 2-0 in ATP 500 tournaments, and 1-0 at the ATP Cup.
The pair have split their 2 ATP 250 meetings - Djokovic winning in the 2016 Doha final and Nadal beating the Serb in the 2008 Queens final, which was then a 250 tournament.