The 2022 Madrid Masters will mark the first tournament Djokovic and Nadal play together this year
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are yet to face each other in 2022, but that could change by the time the Madrid Masters comes to an end. The ATP 1000 event, which runs from May 1 to 8, is about to become the first tournament of the year where the duo compete together at the same time.
While the 21-time Grand Slam champion played in Australia at the start of the year, the World No. 1 had to miss out due to vaccine mandates in the country at the time. When Djokovic played at the Dubai Tennis Championships soon after in February, the Spaniard opted to instead play at the Mexican Open the same week.
The Indian Wells Masters could have witnessed the two face off against each other, but once again the Serb was prevented from playing due to entry restrictions in the United States.
While things got back to normal for the 20-time Grand Slam champion and he showed up to play at the Monte-Carlo Masters earlier this month, the World No. 4, unfortunately, could not. Hit with a stress fracture in his rib, Nadal hasn’t been seen in action since the final at Indian Wells, where he lost to Taylor Fritz.
Even if he had been fit this past week, it is unlikely the pair would have met each other. The 21-time Grand Slam champion was scheduled to play at the Barcelona Open instead of the Serbia Open where Djokovic participated.
Coming back to Madrid, Novak Djokovic will be the top seed, whereas the 35-year-old will be the third seed with Daniil Medvedev missing out due to an injury. Last year, the first and third seeds were in the same half of the draw and were in line to square off against one another in the semifinals.
In 2018 and 2019, however, they were in separate halves and were on course to meet only in the final, while 2015 and 2016 saw the first and third seeds share the same half much like in 2021.
It should be noted that Rafael Nadal hasn’t officially confirmed that he has recovered enough to play in the Madrid Masters. But all the signs from last week indicate that fans can expect to see him in action there, and it is only a matter of time before he touches down in Madrid.
The 2021 Roland Garros was the last event Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal played together
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic last met at the 2021 Roland Garros
The last time Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic showed up to play in the same event was at last year’s Roland Garros, where the two ended up meeting in the semifinals. The latter won in four sets and went on to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final to win his 19th Grand Slam title.
The duo met at the preceding Rome Masters as well, where the 21-time Grand Slam champion defeated the World No. 1 in the final in three sets. The Serb currently leads their head-to-head 30-28, and a meeting at the Madrid Masters will mark the 59th time the two have taken on each other — the most by any pair in ATP history.