Tennis Titans Djokovic and Nadal Embrace Off-Court Revelry Ahead of 2024 Season Opener

As the tennis world eagerly anticipates the commencement of the 2024 season in Australia, marquee players like Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Emma Raducanu are gearing up for their return to the courts. The Brisbane International, set to kick off on December 31, promises high-stakes clashes, with Novak Djokovic initiating his campaign at the United Cup on December 29. Express Sport compiles all the top tennis headlines from the preceding week.

Djokovic and Nadal, titans in the tennis realm with 24 and 22 Grand Slam singles titles respectively, have etched their names as legendary champions. The Serbian maestro boasts a remarkable 404 weeks as the world No. 1, while the 37-year-old Nadal boasts 14 French Opens, solidifying his clay-court supremacy.

However, even these tennis icons find solace away from the court, as revealed by former rival Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The retired Frenchman candidly disclosed that Djokovic and Nadal, despite their rigorous professional commitments, indulged in occasional revelry and parties. Tsonga, an 18-time title winner, emphasized the importance of balancing the demanding tennis circuit with moments of enjoyment.

“Is it possible to have big parties and have fun when you’re a professional? Seriously, maybe I shouldn’t say it, but seriously… I’ve seen them all,” Tsonga shared on the Do It Yourself podcast, shedding light on the less-known side of these tennis greats.

Acknowledging the necessity of timely enjoyment, Tsonga added, “You just have to do it at the appropriate times, not during a tournament. It’s not ideal, you have to be honest, but to keep the circuit going for 40 weeks, going around the world for 15 years, you have to have fun and enjoy it from time to time.”

Tsonga, who engaged in memorable battles with Djokovic and Nadal during his prime, recalled his only Grand Slam final appearance at the 2008 Australian Open, where he faced Djokovic. Despite Djokovic securing his maiden Major title, it marked a significant chapter in Tsonga’s illustrious career.

In the midst of anticipation for the upcoming season, Rafael Nadal faces skepticism about challenging Djokovic, who is returning from a long-term injury layoff. The Spaniard, trailing two Grand Slam titles behind Djokovic, aims to narrow the gap during the Australian competitions.