Nadal and Djokovic, united by drama as Sinner eats it all up

Share on:

The drama at the top of men’s tennis used to be on the court, but now it’s mostly off the court.

It’s all drama for Novak Djokovic, who is changing his team when everything should be so much smoother. He got rid of his manager, Edoardo Artaldi, and his press officer, Elena Cappelaro, at the end of 2023, and a few days ago of his coach, Goran Ivanisevic.

Another great drama is that of Rafael Nadal, who wants to play again but cannot, because his body can no longer tolerate the physical demands of hard surfaces.

And a drama for both to see how the power of tennis has already gone out of their hands, because today the boss is Jannik Sinner, winner of 25 of the last 26 matches he played. The Italian is already number two in the world, closer and closer to take the number one from the Serb.

Djokovic’s drama is particular, because it is the most unexpected. And, when you listen to him speak, the impression he leaves is that the story could be even more dramatic.

“I still don’t have a clear idea who the new coach will be, or if there will be one,” the Serb said last week in Belgrade. “I’ve had coaches since I was a kid, now I’m trying to feel for myself what I need, what I feel more comfortable with.”

And Nadal? He was spotted recently at an awards ceremony for his foundation, but his future is a big unknown. Every time his tennis seems to take off, his body sets limits. He has been used to cheating his body and circumventing those limits for a lifetime, but it has never cost him as much as this time.

+Clay  Champion's splash: Tommy Paul and the memory of the iconic Courier's celebration

So the Monte Carlo tournament, which starts on 7 April, takes on extra interest: will it be the stage on which the two greats return?

Today it seems unlikely that the two will meet at the Monte Carlo Country Club, but the key to 2024 is on clay: if Nadal fails to return this year, let alone add another title, the race to be the biggest winner in history will be over. Djokovic has it almost won, yes, but with Nadal, despite this dark present, you never know. And the Serb is well aware of that: he cannot leave any detail to chance.

What if Nadal returns, wins his fifteenth Roland Garros and puts the Grand Slam race at 23-24? What if Djokovic never wins another Grand Slam? What if Nadal adds another and ties?

Hard, very hard for each of those things to happen. It’s even more likely that Nadal will retire from tennis without ever playing Roland Garros again. But if Djokovic were comfortable, if he felt in control of the situation, he wouldn’t make all the changes he’s made to his team lately. The drama in men’s tennis is real.

[ CLAY is read for free. But if you can, please make a contribution here so we can keep writting great #TennisTales around the world. It’s very easy and quick – thank you! ]


Get the best stories in your inbox

Tennis Tales

Find us:

© 2024 Copyrights by Clay Tennis. All Rights Reserved.