Novak Djokovic is currently ranked World No. 2 in the ATP rankings and Rafael Nadal is ranked 1st. Nadal also has a slightly better head-to-head record against Djokovic, having won 23 of their 42 matches. Djokovic defeated Nadal in all 6 matches they played in 2011. Nadal defeated Djokovic in 3 of their 4 encounters in 2012. In 2013 they were evenly matched, with 3 wins each. Djokovic defeated Nadal in the first two encounters in 2014 but Nadal won their third match of the year, the 2014 French Open finals.
Nadal is left-handed while Djokovic is right-handed.
Djokovic was born on May 22, 1987 in Belgrade, in the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He started playing tennis at age 4, and in 1993, he was spotted by Jelena Gencic, who trained him for six years before sending him to the Pilic tennis academy in Germany for four years. He began his international career at age 14.
Nadal was born on June 3, 1986 in Manacor, Majorca, Spain. He was introduced to tennis at age 3 by his uncle, and won an under-12 regional tennis championship at 8. He also played football (soccer) at this time, but when he won the Spanish and European titles for his age group at age 12, his father made him choose between the sports. At 14, after his parents turned down the Spanish tennis federation's request to send him to Barcelona for more training, he lost much of his funding from the Spanish Tennis Federation, with his father covering his costs. He turned pro when he was 15.
Djokovic is an all-court player who emphasizes aggressive baseline play. His backhand is considered the best in the game today, and he has superior agility, court coverage and defensive ability.
Nadal has an aggressive, behind-the-baseline playing style built on heavy topspin groundstrokes, consistency, speedy footwork and total court coverage. He uses a full western grip forehand, and specializes on the clay court.
Up to the June 2014, Djokovic and Nadal have played 42 matches against each other. Out of those games, Nadal won 23 times, and Djokovic won 19 times. They first met at the quarterfinals at the 2006 French Open, where Nadal won, and their first final together was the 2007 Indian Wells Masters Tournament. They played their first Grand Slam final against each other at the 2010 US Open.
Djokovic appeared in his first Grand Slam in the 2005 Australian Open, where he was defeated by Marat Safin in the first round. He reached the third round of both Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year. He reached his first Grand Slam final in 2007, when he reached the final of the US Open. He won the Australian Open in 2008, and three more Grand Slam Titles, at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US open, in 2011. He also won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013.
Nadal won his first Grand Slam in 2005, when he won the French Open and moved to No. 3 ranked in the world with a 24 match winning streak. He missed the Australian Open in 2006 due to a foot injury, but defeated Federer in the Frech Open final. He then lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final. He won the French Open again in 2007 and 2008, as well as Wimbledon in 2008, the Australian Open in 2009, the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 2010, and the French Open again in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Djokovic was ranked No. 1 in the world in 2011 and 2012.
Nadal is currently ranked No. 1 in the world (his ranking fluctuates between 1 and 2). He was first ranked No. 1 in 2008, and regained the title in 2010. He also has a famed rivalry with Roger Federer, who is currently ranked World No. 4.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nadal defeated Djokovic in the semifinals, and went on to win the gold medal.
Awards and Honors
Djokovic has won many awards, including Best Male Tennis Player in Serbia, the ATP Player of the Year, the Best Grand Slam Match of the Year, and the United States Sports Academy Male-Athlete of the Year.
Nadal holds many records, including the highest number of men’s singles titles in the French Open (8), Rome Masters (6) and Barcelona Open (7).
Djokovic endorses the Serbian telecommunications company Telekom Srbija and the German nutritional supplement brand Fitline. He is known for his humorous off-court impersonations, earning him the nickname Djoker. He is a Serbian Orthodox Christian and a fan of Serbian football club Red Star Belgrade.
Nadal is a fan of the football club Real Madrid, and founded his own charity, Fundacion Rafa Nadal, that focuses on social work and development for children.