Are Federer, Nadal, And Djokovic Friends? (Find Out Now)

When we talk about the "Big Three," of course, I mean Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. For two decades, these three have been each other's biggest rivals on the court. But what about off the court? And are Federer Nadal and Djokovic friends?

There is no real friendship between Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. The three do have great respect for each other, both on and off the court. Of the three, Federer and Nadal are the most friendly with each other. With Djokovic, both Federer and Nadal have a collegial relationship.

A lot has been written over the years about the relationship between Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic. This often involved taking things out of context or telling untruths. Read on to find out more about the friendship between Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic and what my honest take on it is.

Are Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic Friends in Real Life?

Without a doubt, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are the three greatest tennis players to have ever stepped on a court, for now.

Each player has won a staggering 20 Grand Slams, and Nadal leads the way with 21 at the time of writing, although that is likely to change.

The “Big Three” are such fierce competitors that this has made them all better, something for which they are grateful to each other.

For the last two decades, fans have been spoiled by three men who have pushed each other to tennis excellence.

Of course, they are massive rivals on the court that wouldn’t give the others an inch.

But are Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic friends of court? 

It is difficult to maintain a friendship with such a rivalry, also considering their massively hectic schedule. They don’t have time to have dinner and chat every week, making being friends more difficult.

One clear thing is the amount of respect they have for one another.

Being the top tennis players themselves, they know the effort, determination, and motivation it takes. They are perfectly positioned to appreciate each other as tennis players.

All three have made it clear time and time again that they have the utmost respect and admiration for each other.

The friendliest relationship of the three is between Nadal and Federer, or “Fedal” as their rivalry is known.

They are known to get along quite well and have donated to each other’s charities. Nadal and Federer have said that they are friends and that their relationship is good.

They also seem to have a similar sense of humor, as when they are together, they are often laughing.

On the side of the court at the Laver Cup one year, they seemed like old friends, cheering the tennis and laughing. They do seem to enjoy each other’s company.

Djokovic has a more difficult friendship with the others.

He has said in the past that he can’t be friends with Nadal and Federer because of their rivalries, but they are still definitely amicable.

Early on in his career, Djokovic was difficult to get along with and annoyed a lot of other players, especially Federer.

His antics on the court, giving up matches just because he lost, and his father’s annoying comments all made Djokovic - let’s say not the most popular player on tour.

However, Djokovic has definitely matured, and his relationship with the other two has improved thanks to this.

The three donated to each other’s charities and donated to the same causes.

As a fan, I always appreciate seeing that they always seem happy for each other when they lose in a final.

After several grueling fights and intense disappointments, they still congratulate each other (for the most part) and seem genuinely pleased with their opponent’s performance.

Friends is perhaps too strong a term, but Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic are certainly friendly with each other.

Roger Federer on His Relationship With Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic

Federer is the oldest of the three and has seen both of them burst onto the scene.

In terms of tennis, he is massively complimentary of both.

He highlights all their skills: Djokovic’s incredible mental strength and Nadal’s inhuman ability to return even the most powerful, well-placed shots. 

He has highlighted his friendship with Nadal in the past and said he feels closest to him rather than Novak Djokovic.

He knows Nadal’s family fairly well and vice versa. They have also chatted regularly over their careers. 

Clearly, there is some warmth between the two that some believe to be played up for the media.

That may be the case, but the laughs they share seem genuine enough, and they always seem to enjoy being around each other.

They have also been known to have dinner together, like in Qatar when they were both promoting a tournament. 

When it comes to Djokovic, his disapproval of the Serb in his youth was well-publicized. Since then, Djokovic has improved his behavior, and Federer has appreciated this. 

When Boris Becker tried to stir up some bad feelings between the two, Federer quickly shut it down and re-emphasized that he had no problem with Novak Djokovic. 

He also has a certain sense of solidarity with the other two, which is unsurprising considering how outstanding their careers have been.

In an interview, Roger Federer said:

“It’s quite special at the same time that the three of us are doing what we are doing. We are all writing history in our own ways; we all three could not be happier with our careers”.

Rafael Nadal on His Relationship With Roger Federer & Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal is a humble, unproblematic player who is completely focused on his tennis rather than any publicity, drama, or anything else.

Even if he did have a problem with the other two, it seems very unlikely that he would ever say it in an interview. 

Luckily, it doesn’t seem like he has a problem with the other two.

He is relatively close with Federer. They have regularly spoken together throughout their careers and even know each other’s families quite well. 

It is likely that Nadal looks up to Federer, or at least did at some points in his career. He almost always seems happy off the court, especially when with Federer.

There is a great video of them trying to film a promo for a tournament and failing because they keep laughing! 

Nadal also emphasizes that his relationship with Djokovic has improved over the years and keeps improving.

They have visited each other’s foundations, and he has said they try to help each other as much as possible. 

While it may not always have been easy, the relationship between Nadal and Djokovic has definitely become better.

This is what Nadal said about this:

“We learned to live through this in an easier way, and that’s when I could see how our relationships go beyond our sporting careers. I can assure you now that after we retire, we will still have a great relationship”.

Novak Djokovic on His Relationship With Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal

As previously said, Djokovic was not the most charismatic player as he was growing up. He tended to get on people’s nerves, which some people never let go of.

Djokovic probably doesn’t mind too much, though. I’m sure his 20 Grand Slams cheer him up considerably. 

However, at some point in his career, he went through a real mentality change, going from mentally weak to probably the mentally toughest player to have ever played the game.

As his mentality matured, so did he, and he got along with Nadal and Federer better than he had ever done in the past. 

He considers himself unable to be friends with Nadal and Federer because of their relationship on the court, saying that he can’t be friends with his rivals.

This is an example of his winning mentality, and hopefully, he will change his mind when he retires. 

There is definitely some appreciation for the two because he knows what it takes to be world number one.

Anytime they have failed to participate in a Grand Slam, Djokovic has been disappointed.

After all, he is always a tennis fan, and he understands how important the two are to tennis.

This quote can perfectly sum up his attitude:

“We can’t really be friends because we are constantly competing against each other, and it’s hard to be friends with a person you are trying to beat. I think it’s important we respect each other, and I’m sure when our careers finish, we will be really good friends!”

Conclusion

So these three rivals, these three absolute icons of tennis, have a friendly relationship with one another, made more difficult by their constant, intense competition.

While Nadal and Federer are definitely closer, all three have amicable relationships with one another. 

One hopes that in ten years (if they’ve retired by then), they’ll be sitting around a dining table reminiscing about old times.

From what they’ve said in interviews, that is a genuine possibility!

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
Published: 
April 1, 2022
Published: April 1, 2022