Novak Djokovic ‘p***ed off’ with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as Serb discusses rivalry

Novak Djokovic has confessed that he was “p***ed off” to be part of the same era as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The world No 2 discussed his Big Three rivalry during his absence from the current ‘sunshine double’ and admitted he initially loathed competing with both men.



Djokovic is currently out of action after US Homeland Security denied his vaccine waiver request. It meant he was unable to compete in this month’s Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami, but the 22-time Grand Slam champion has been keeping busy in other ways.



The 35-year-old attended the recent Dubai Future District Fund’s First Annual General Meeting where he spoke for the first time since pulling out of Miami. And Djokovic discussed his long-standing rivalry with Federer and Nadal, making a surprising revelation that he originally didn’t enjoy being part of the Big Three era.



“Well at the beginning of my professional career when I was kind of breaking through it was – on the men’s side – only about Federer and Nadal really,” he told CNN. “About their rivalry and such an opposite style of tennis and their epic matches they played. So it was kind of hard for me to get into the mix.”

While he now finds it an “honour” to have built such a famous rivalry with his fellow greats, Djokovic said it initially “p***ed” him off. The 93-time title winner continued: “I had to really work and achieve some great things in order to be considered to be in a conversation with the two of these guys.

“So it’s really an honour to be part of the era with them and, you know, at times I was really p***ed off to be part of that era with them.” But Djokovic now knows that their rivalry made him a better player and pushed him to make history himself.


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