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'Novak Djokovic is sensational, but he is not comparable to Rafael Nadal,' says Ion Tiriac

Novak Djokovic 'cannot be compared' to Rafael Nadal, according to Ion Tiriac. Not sure history will agree with that...
Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros

Ion Tiriac believes Novak Djokovic ‘does not have the charisma’ to be compared to Rafael Nadal, who he considers to be the greatest player of all time.

Tiriac has been a prominent figure in tennis for a while, with him winning a French Open doubles title before developing the Madrid Masters to become on the biggest events on both the ATP and WTA Tours.

He was recently quizzed on his thoughts on how Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic compare to each other, and why the latter often suffers in the popularity stakes compared to the Spaniard.

Asked by claytennis.com why he the French Open crowd were apparently against Djokovic in that quarterfinal, Tiriac said: “Nadal is Nadal, and at Roland Garros there is no one like him.”

“I think that Djokovic has made a fatal mistake, fatal with the issue of the vaccine. [It was] fatal for his image which is a pity, because he is a sensational player.

“He wants to be a personality, but he doesn’t have the charisma of Ilie Nastase, of John McEnroe. So it’s a little more difficult.

“But without a doubt he is a great player and a hard worker. But he is not Nadal!”

Tiriac was also pushed on his thoughts on the GOAT race, and he believes the match at Roland Garros only strengthened his view that Rafael Nadal will always be tennis’ ‘number one.’

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“In the match against Djokovic, Nadal played very, very well. Beating Djokovic, number one in the world, in that way.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at French Open

“No, Nadal is going to be number one in the world forever. [Djokovic] cannot be compared for me, and nor can he be with Federer.”

Authors Comment: The GOAT race will always be a subjective call, and it always should be. Tennis fans should be free to feel inspired by whoever they wish, and the sport has such diverse personalities that there is something for everyone to love.

That said, Tiriac’s comments Djokovic seem fundamentally unfair. You can make a point that Rafael Nadal is brilliant – which he is – without having a dig at Novak Djokovic or anyone else.

Djokovic has literally millions of fans out there and is genuinely loved, so he is clearly not short on charisma. His vaccination views should not define him either. His tennis should, and in every measurable sense there he is comparable to any player the game has ever – or will ever – see.

This one has a bit of a 'kick Novak Djokovic while he's down' feel to it after a very tough six months for the Serbian, in all honesty.

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