Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal recently returned to action after being away for nearly a year AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI

Rafael Nadal has dismissed talks of Novak Djokovic being considered the Greatest of All Time (GOAT), insisting that Roger Federer deserves the coveted tag.

"Since I have a memory of tennis, (Federer) is the player who has impressed me the most, the one who has entertained me the most, the one who has moved me the most. Watching Federer play has moved me more than Djokovic, and in the end, tennis is about emotion. It's the emotion that draws you to it," said Nadal in a recent interview.

Nadal, who recently returned to action after a long injury lay-off, said there are "several factors" that need to be considered in the GOAT debate, and statistics play just a minor aspect.

"Some I won't tell you because it's difficult for me, it's not my place to comment on them, but in terms of tennis, it's clear," Nadal added.

Novak Djokovic's wrist injury

Meanwhile, World No. 1 Djokovic has suffered a wrist injury just a few days before the Australian Open gets underway.

Djokovic sustained a blow at the very beginning of the 2024 season as his 43-match unbeaten run on Australian soil came to an end on Wednesday. It was his first loss in Australia since 2018.

In his first defeat of the season, Djokovic lost 6-4, 6-4 to Alex de Minaur in their United Cup quarter-final on Wednesday. De Minaur, Australia's No. 1, gave his country a 1-0 lead over Serbia in the competition.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner struggled with a wrist injury throughout his game against de Minaur and was unable to produce his best tennis at the RAC Arena. However, Djokovic is not overly concerned with his current situation, 11 days before the start of the Australian Open.

"I knew that probably, [I am] not going to be at 100 per cent physically, emotionally, mentally game-wise in the opening week of a season. Neither did I expect that. I was not on my level, but it was just one of these days where I didn't feel my best on the court, and [my] opponent played very well. That's all I can say," Djokovic said in his post-match press conference on Wednesday.

Djokovic confident he'll return to best for Australian Open

When reporters asked him further about the wrist injury, the 36-year-old said he'll be okay although the issue has had "quite an impact, particularly on the forehand and serve". However, Djokovic believes he has plenty of time to get himself "in the right shape for the Australian Open".

The Serbian star first picked up the injury to his right wrist during his victory over Czech Republic's Jiri Lehecka on Tuesday.

During the match against 24-year-old de Minaur, Djokovic received treatment by the physio and Serbian captain Viktor Troicki.

It was de Minaur's first win over Djokovic. Interestingly, at the same competition – United Cup – last year, the Aussie player had also defeated Rafael Nadal.

"This was extremely special, Novak is an unbelievable competitor. This feels surreal, I'm happy to do it here in Australia. When you go against Novak you just have to try and enjoy it. You must keep fighting to the end. Today was my day -- I'm happy I was able to get the win. "This one means a lot," said de Minaur at a post-match interview.

Another Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has slammed the ATP, insisting that the consistent changing of tennis balls is to blame for Djokovic's injury.

"Change of balls every week finally got to novaks (sic) wrist. The ATP really need to do something about this problem. Players suffer all the time," wrote Kyrgios on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The Australian Open 2024 is scheduled to get underway on Jan. 14.