Legendary tennis coach Toni Nadal claimed Novak Djokovic is the most complete tennis player.
The Serbian, who battled a hamstring injury as he won the Australian Open, tied the Grand Slam record with the 61-year-old’s nephew Rafa and the pair will likely battle for a 23rd major at the French Open later this year. Djokovic dropped just one set en route to his 10th Australian Open title and returned to the top of the world rankings following a special victory.
The 35-year-old is desperate to claim the Grand Slam record outright in an attempt to be known as the undisputed greatest tennis player of all time. For Uncle Toni, who now coaches rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime, the result in Melbourne was a demonstration, not only of Djokovic's "complete" game but also of the fact that he is a "fighter to the point of exhaustion" - just like his nephew.
“His game is undoubtedly the most complete on the circuit, which allows him to play both attacking and defending," Nadal wrote in his latest El Pais column. "He is decisive and a fighter to the point of exhaustion, and he responds with astonishing serenity in moments of maximum tension.
"He also has the ambition and the consequent desire to continue improving. Proof of this is his service, highly perfected in recent times. In the first set, the player from Athens [Tsitsipas] wanted to play Novak precisely, one on one, with fast and aggressive shots, constantly changing the directions of his shots. So it still seems almost impossible to beat him, unless you are Roger Federer.
“As much as we are already used to it, what the Serbian player has achieved is as amazing as it is admirable. That 15 years after that 2008 [edition of the Australian Open], in which he lifted his first major in Melbourne, he has done it again for the 10th time there, and with such an impressive tennis level, should astonish the people of the world of tennis."
Toni mentioned Federer in his column and the Swiss Maestro congratulated Djokovic on creating another piece of history. The 20-time major winner wrote in an Instagram story: "Incredible effort, again! Many congratulations."
Nadal meanwhile, posted: “Congrats Nole, to you and your team for this great achievement. Enjoy the moment!” The 36-year-old exited the Australian Open in the second round due to a hip injury, and took to social media to provide an update on his recovery.
The 14-time French Open winner returned to his native Spain and visited the Clínica Tenis Teknon in Barcelona for a medical assessment. The test results were as expected, meaning Nadal remains on his previous rehabilitation schedule - albeit further examinations will be conducted in three weeks.
“Today I have been at the Clínica Tenis Teknon in Barcelona where they have carried out some tests on me,” Nadal wrote on Twitter last week. “The Melbourne results are confirmed and the deadlines remain the same. We established the treatments to follow and in three weeks they will carry out new tests to see the evolution.”
Following this update, it is likely Nadal may not play again until the beginning of the clay court season this spring.