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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday September 20, 2023

From the sidelines, Rafael Nadal has watched Novak Djokovic pass him on the all-time Grand Slam singles titles list in 2023, going from 21 to 24 major titles won, while the Spaniard has struggled with injuries, undergone surgery, and contemplated his own tennis reality.

Tennis Express

What does the 22-time major champion think about Djokovic’s accomplishments?

No disputing the numbers, says the Spaniard.

“I believe that numbers are numbers and statistics are statistics, and in that sense, I think he has better numbers than mine and that is indisputable,” Nadal said in an interview with the Spanish website “I do not have an ego big enough to try to disguise a reality that is not. This is the truth. The rest are tastes, inspiration, sensations that one or the other may transmit to you, that you may like one or the other more.”

Statistically speaking it’s no contest, says Nadal, even if some want to harp on the injuries that have so often hindered Nadal over the course of his career.

“I think that with respect to titles, Djokovic is the best in history and there is nothing to discuss in that,” Nadal reiterated. “Then, as always, everyone can combine the story as they wish, saying that I have suffered many injuries – bad luck for me or bad luck that I had my body this way.”

At the end of the day, as Nadal said in his interview with Movistar Plus+, there are no regrets. He and Djokovic are different animals, and the fact that Djokovic is making it clearer and clearer with each passing Grand Slam that he is the GOAT does not frustrate Nadal.

“He has had another (path) and in some ways that is also part of the sport,” he said. “I congratulate him for everything he is achieving and that does not cause me any type of frustration.”

Nadal stresses that for him, it has never been about being the player with the most Slams, even as he admits that of course it’s a record he would like to hold.

“I have said it when I was the one who won the most Slams, I said it when we were tied and I say it now that I am behind,” he said. “I am not going to be the one who tries, through a personal struggle, to want to be what I am not. What is, is and what is not, is not. I say this very satisfied with everything I have done.”