Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal Head to Head: Who is on top in the greatest tennis rivalry?

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the Internazionali BNL D’Italia at the Foro Italico, Rome, Italy on 18 May 2019.
Photo : SUSA / Icon Sport

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are two of the greatest tennis players in the history of the game. They are on top of the list when it comes to Grand Slam titles. Their rivalry marked the late 2000s and the 2010s and many fans are wondering if we ever going to witness such competitiveness between two players. It is safe to say that these two players and their matches against each other has been some of the reasons for the world-wide popularization of the sport in the last two decades. Rafael Nadal, the 14-time Roland Garros champion, has announced that he will retire in 2024 and maybe we have already seen his last match against Djokovic. However, in this article we will dive deep into their head to head record in the hope of seeing them going against each other on the tennis court again.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Overall Head to Head Record

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has played 59 head to head matches so far and the Serbian leads 30-29.

Their first match was in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Roland Garros when Nadal was defending his first French Open title. Djokovic retired at the beginning of the third set after Nadal won the first two sets by 6-4.

The following year, Nadal and Djokovic met for the first time in a final match with the Spaniard winning 6-2, 7-5 in Indian Wells. Later that year, Djokovic defeated Nadal for the first time in their third match. It was the quarterfinal in Miami where Djokovic won 6-3, 6-4.

It took more than 4 years since their first match and a total of 21 head to head matches before Djokovic and Nadal faced each other in a Grand Slam final. It was 2010 when Nadal won the US Open final by 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Last Match

Their last match between Djokovic and Nadal was at the 2022 French Open quarterfinals when the Spaniard won 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6. Despite the fact that Nadal missed the majority of the previous season with a foot injury and had a injured rib going into the French Open, he managed to beat Djokovic in the quarterfinals. In a match that started in May and ended in June, Nadal blew Djokovic away in the opening stages but the Serbian managed to make things even at one set apiece. Just when many thought that Djokovic will make another of his impressive comebacks, Nadal took his game to another level and won the match in four sets after 4 hours and 11 minutes of play.  The Spaniard did not stop there as he went all the way to win his 14th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Head to Head Breakdown

  • Djokovic and Nadal played against each other 18 times on the Grand Slam tournaments. Nadal won 11 of those matches while the Serbian won on 7 occasions. Nadal has a better record at the French Open (8-2) and at the US Open (2-1) while Djokovic is better at the Australian Open (2-0) and Wimbledon (2-1)
  • Djokovic and Nadal have faced each other in 28 final matches and the Serbian leads 15-13
  • When it comes to the surfaces, Nadal is the better one on clay (20-8), Djokovic dominated the hard surface (20-7) while they split the four matches played on grass.

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal: Grand Slam Finals Matches

Djokovic and Nadal has played against each other in nine Grand Slam Finals with Nadal winning five of those. Following are all the results from their Grand Slam finals head to head:

  • 2020          French Open                          Nadal – Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5
  • 2019          Australian Open                    Djokovic – Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
  • 2014          French Open                          Nadal – Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
  • 2013          US Open                                 Nadal – Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
  • 2012          French Open                          Nadal – Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
  • 2012          Australian Open                    Djokovic – Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5
  • 2011          US Open                                 Djokovic – Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1
  • 2011          Wimbledon                            Djokovic – Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
  • 2010          US Open                                 Nadal – Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!