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Novak Djokovic fires warning to Rafael Nadal and 'accepts' prospect of facing bans

Daily Express logo Daily Express 29/09/2022 Jack McEachen
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Having become team-mates at the Laver Cup, has sent a warning to rival as the Serbian star is one Grand Slam title behind his rival, and was not able to draw level at the . The 35-year-old was unable to compete in New York as unvaccinated foreign visitors are banned from entering the United States.

Djokovic's next opportunity to join Nadal on 22 Major wins is at the in January, where he is likely to be able to compete despite being deported from the country at the beginning of this year. Djokovic and Nadal joined Team Europe at the Laver Cup for farewell, but now Djokovic has sent the Spaniard a warning that he is coming for the all-time Grand Slam wins record by admitting that he is "hungry" for more trophies.

"In recent years, I have other priorities. I spent more time with the children," Djokovic told Sportal. "I mentally adapted to such a life, but my body is grateful because I managed to keep fit. I still like to train.

"I do the usual routines that I have every day. I am eager for tennis and competition. I'm hungry for trophies. I have maintained the top level of tennis by playing in the biggest tournaments."

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Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal © GETTY Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal

As he is unvaccinated against Covid-19, Djokovic has said that he is ready to face the consequences as he prepares to return to the ATP Tour. He is in Tel Aviv to compete on the tour for the first time since May, having overcome a wrist injury he picked up against Felix Auger Aliassime in the Laver Cup, and admitted it was tough watching the US Open as a non-competitor but accepts the consequences including possible future bans.

"It was not easy for me to watch Grand Slam matches without participating," Djokovic added. "However, I had to accept such a situation. I made a decision, and these are its consequences."

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Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal © GETTY Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal

Djokovic was able to celebrate his friend and rival Federer's career as he retired from professional tennis at the Laver Cup, and the Serbian admitted that it was "one of the most beautiful moments" anyone had experienced on a tennis court.

"We all knew it would be an emotional farewell for Roger but I think we were all taken away by the moment," Djokovic told the ATP.

"At the same time it is a mix of emotions. Sadness because one of the greatest athletes of all time is leaving the sport but on the other hand seeing him happy with the way it all played out, I was just very grateful and privileged to be alongside other Team World and Europe players to witness that. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced in my life, for sure."

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