Novak Djokovic welcomed “amazing news” after Rafael Nadal confirmed he will return next year, as the world No. 1 said he wants “at least one more match” in their long-running rivalry.
Nadal hasn’t featured in a competitive match since suffering a hip injury in defeat to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open in January.
“I confirmed yesterday I’ll be back. Stay tuned these days when I decide and announce with my team when and where,” Nadal wrote.
Nadal’s return could come at the Australian Open, where Djokovic is the reigning champion and will look to claim a record-extending 25th major title in January.
The 36-year-old hopes he will come face-to-face with his old foe again, who he holds a 30-29 career record against in a rivalry that spans 17 years.
“It would be nice for the sport to have at least one more match between Nadal and me,” Djokovic told reporters.
“That’s the biggest rivalry, in terms of the amount of matches played, that this sport has ever had. So hopefully that can happen.
“He’s a big warrior, he’s somebody who never gives up and with all the injuries that he had, keeps going.
“That’s definitely something that you have to respect and admire about him and his spirit.
“For the world of tennis, no doubt that it’s amazing news that he will be back.”
He is already guaranteed to finish 2023 as year-end world No. 1, but the Serbian needs Jannik Sinner to beat Holger Rune in the final Green Group match on Thursday evening if he is to avoid elimination.
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