Rafael Nadal criticised for ‘salty’ Novak Djokovic comment over Roger Federer record

Tennis: Djokovic thanks fans after breaking record

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Rafael Nadal has been criticised by fans for his comments following Novak Djokovic’s latest record-breaking achievement. The Serbian tennis star surpassed Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks as world number one at the start of March after winning the Australian Open.

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have been tennis’ top players of the last decade, with the latter first rising to number one in July 2011.

He has spent five separate stints at the top of the world rankings, with his longest period being 122 weeks between July 2014 and November 2016.

After dropping as low as number 22, the five-time Wimbledon champion usurped Nadal as the world’s best ranked player in February 2020.

Since then, he has continued to hold onto the crown, setting the record for the most cumulative weeks at the top.

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Federer broke Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks in July 2012, having spent six stints as number one since first becoming number one in 2004.

But Nadal appeared to be less than impressed with his rival’s achievement when asked about it by Sport Klub journalist Saša Ozmo.

“During this period of time, for the last few years, a lot of records have been broken. Three players did a lot of important things in the history of our sport,” the Spaniard said.

“That is another great achievement for Novak so well done for him, I congratulate him. As for what that means for the history of tennis, I don’t know, it is another broken record, well done.”

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Nadal himself has spent 209 weeks as number one in the process of winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

But he has been slammed by fans on Twitter for a perceived lack of class in his response to Djokovic’s latest achievement.

“The bitterness in Rafa is slowly turning the blood in his veins to solid salt,” one tweeted.

“Nadal as usual does not appreciate his fellow players in the correct way. That is why he will never be great as Roger or Novak,” added another.

“2nd best tennis player in the history of the sport to say he “doesn’t know what it means” is very unsportsmanlike and also shows lack of intelligence & respect,” a third fan blasted.

Others though were more sympathetic with Nadal’s comments, highlighting the fierce rivalry between the Spaniard, Djokovic and Federer.

“Yeah, not 100% sincere I can tell, but it’s ok. No needed. We understand the rivalry between the big three, even though it’s not fully admitted,” one fan wrote.

“Djokovic’s story is one to look up to. He came from behind and surpassed Nadal and Federer to become in the end the GOAT.”

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