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Djokovic believes Nadal could be back in 2025

Novak Djokovic believes longtime rival Rafael Nadal could be tempted to play the 2025 French Open despite experiencing the “unique moment” of what was generally accepted to be the great Spaniard’s farewell.

Djokovic and Nadal have met 59 times in their careers with 10 of those clashes coming at Roland Garros.

Djokovic was in a star-studded crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday as 14-time champion Nadal was knocked out in straight sets in the first round by Alexander Zverev.

“It was great. Iga (Swiatek) was there, (Carlos) Alcaraz was there, and we all wanted to get a glimpse of the atmosphere of that possibly unique moment that could be his last. But it doesn’t appear like that,” said Djokovic after making the second round on Tuesday.

When asked if he expected to see Nadal play the 2025 French Open when he will celebrate his 39th birthday, the Serb replied: “Yeah, it looks like.”

“I think he played very well. Even though he lost in straight sets, the second and third were really close. 

“He could have easily won one of those two sets, and maybe the match was going in a different direction.”

After the match Nadal said he was unable to make any commitment on his future plans.

Zverev joined Djokovic and Robin Soderling as the only men to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros since 2005.

“He was a bit unlucky with the draw, because Zverev is in a great form, winning Rome, and he was serving extremely well,” added Djokovic. 

“It’s tough to play Sascha when he’s feeling the ball so well. But it was great to watch. I don’t recall last time I actually watched a set of any match live on that level, other than Davis Cup matches.”

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