There is no rivalry akin to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. It is simply the best individual sporting rivalry in the world, no questions asked. You look across the sporting world and find either complete dominance by one individual or such a dearth of quality throughout the sport that it is barely worth watching. Boxing is the only category which has the potential to provide such a rivalry, yet in reality this is not feasible. The Klitschko brothers will never fight each other and it would seem that Mayweather and Pacquiao will find every excuse possible not to fight. So we are left with the one solitary sporting rivalry worth watching. Before people are quick to retort back at me that there are plenty, I ask you just to sit back and consider whether it really deserves the same breath as Djokovic and Nadal. Probably not.
Whenever Djokovic and Rafael step on a tennis court together one can expect fireworks. Not fireworks in the ilk of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira nor a Roy Holloway press conference, no, just two outstanding professionals going hammer and tongue in the only way they know how. These two fine specimens are so good they need not draw attention to themselves by holding fiery or unpredictable press conferences (although Djokovic is known to possess fair wit), they let their tennis do the talking. How refreshing it is when we see two professionals let the sport do the talking. I, for one, am personally fed up at the nonsense that is said in the press, just play your bloody sport and grow up.
Many would argue that the great Roger Federer should be included as part of this rivalry, but I am afraid he is simply a cut below these two at the moment, as for Andy Murray, well... People are regularly coining the phrase "the big 4", a reference to Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray; I suggest the "big 2", the "big 3" at a push. To be part of this elusive group then you have to genuinely have the chance of winning a title when all the top players are competing, I argue that if all four of these players are playing, then Andy Murray has, at best, a minute chance of winning. One last point, why would you corrupt such tennis purity with Andy Murray? Perhaps once (if, probably not, likely never) he wins a major.
Novak and Rafa produced arguably the greatest tennis match of all time in the final of the 2012 Australian Open (highlights can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa2JPWwSqdI). It was an absolute pleasure to behold, never has there been such an incredible show of athleticism on a tennis court, never mind technical ability. It was gruelling just to watch, never mind to play, and was six of the most gripping hours of my life. Expect to see a match of similar proportions at the upcoming French Open final. I assure you that the recent encounter at Monte Carlo was just a blip from the Serbian. Djokovic was thrashed 6-3 6-1 by the Spaniard, a lot can be attributed to the death of Djokovic's late grandfather on the eve of his quarter-final.
I shall be following the progress of Djokovic and Nadal's rivalry in my blog, occasionally deviating onto other tennising matters, but mainly focusing on the best sporting rivalry in the world, one with the potential to develop into one of the greatest in history.
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