Rafael Nadal has made it clear that while he hopes to finish his career as the leader in terms of Grand Slam titles, he is not obsessing over it. The Spaniard is open to the idea of "Big Three" rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic finishing with more major titles.
Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are currently tied on 20 men's singles Grand Slam titles a piece, but the latter can surge ahead if he wins his next three games at the 2021 US Open. The Spaniard and the Swiss ace will not play again this season, and Djokovic can take the lead in the majors race, while also completing the calendar Grand Slam having claimed the titles at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.
The Spaniard revealed that the "Big Three" share a WhatsApp group and are in touch regularly to discuss the state of the game and how they can promote it better. However, Nadal was clear that they do not joke about the race for the major titles, as each player has his own goals going forward.
"Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and I have a WhatsApp group, we have been doing the same kind of job for years, and we all love tennis very much. We also have the responsibility to promote our sport in the right way, trying to take care of things that could bring tennis to a higher level," Nadal said, as quoted on Tennis World USA.
"I would love to finish with more Major crowns than anybody else, but that's something I'm not obsessed with. I'm super happy about my tennis career, and life would continue if Roger or Novak, or both, finish ahead of me in that race.
"In ten years, that will not make my life more or less happier; I'm just trying to enjoy what I'm doing. I do not like to bet and can not predict who will finish at the top; I'm part of that process, and I do not care that much," he added.
Nadal called time on his 2021 season following a recurrence of the foot injury that kept him out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. He is expected to return at the start of the 2022 season, by which time he could be trailing Djokovic in the Grand Slam race.
Djokovic has made it to the quarterfinals at the 2021 US Open. The Serbian will face Italy's Matteo Berrettini for a place in the last four. The world number one remains the favourite to claim his fourth and final major title of the year, but the younger generation has shown this year that they are capable of challenging for major honours.