Rafael Nadal recently showered praise on his rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, labeling them both "perfect" players. Nadal further claimed that Djokovic has "no weaknesses" and is capable of playing his best tennis on all surfaces.
Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer are currently all missing in action, albeit for different reasons. While the Swiss and Spaniard are nursing injuries and will only return to the tour next year, Djokovic is on a well-earned break after his exploits in recent months.
In a recent interview with Number Web, Rafael Nadal lauded Djokovic for his complete game and ability to grind out wins even when he can't find his best tennis.
"He's (Novak Djokovic) a perfect tennis player with no weaknesses," Rafael Nadal said. "Whether it's a clay court, a turf court, or a hard court, he's capable. And this year, he's been astoundingly solid. Even on days when things seem to be out of order, the energy of the feeling that I will definitely win makes up."
Nadal was also asked for his thoughts on his good friend and long-time rival Roger Federer. The World No. 6 claimed Federer, too, is an example of a "perfect" player, whose variety makes him a lethal opponent to face.
"Roger is also a perfect tennis player," Nadal added. "The modernity of his playing style is outstanding. It's very difficult for his opponent to predict his play because of the variety of ways he can fight."
"I think Novak Djokovic was more efficient and clever than I was that day" - Rafael Nadal on his French Open loss to the Serb
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic produced one of the greatest matches of all time in the semifinals of this year's Roland Garros. Djokovic claimed two of the first three sets of their titanic tussle, before cruising in the fourth as Nadal's body deserted him towards the end of the match.
Nadal, on his part, believes Djokovic was more "efficient and clever" in his decision-making on the day. The Spaniard also reckons Djokovic was the "fresher" of the two players.
The 35-year-old admitted he has no regrets about failing to win the title but expressed his desire to come back and win Roland Garros next year.
"I think Novak was more efficient and clever than I was in the game-decision phase that day, and in my eyes he looked physically fresher," Nadal said.
"I wanted to win the championship for as long as possible, but it was interrupted. I have no regrets about it," he added. "I am burning to make the French Open my tournament again next year. "
Nadal also revealed that the clay season took its toll on his aging body, forcing him to take a short break from the tour.
"In mid-June, when I lost to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals, I realized I was tired," said the Spaniard. "I decided to take a short break to recover. I'm not 20 years old. It's important not to push yourself to the limit to prevent injury."
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Nadal, who called time on his season a few months ago, recently revealed that he does not have a set date for his return, but that he is working hard to regain full fitness.