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Sport: Rafael Nadal puts pressure on 'favourite' Novak Djokovic in Roger Federer GOAT battle

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Rafael Nadal has admitted Novak Djokovic is likely to win more Grand Slams than him between now and the end of their respective careers. Along with Roger Federer, they have scooped 20 major titles each - but time is on the Serbian's side in the battle for supremacy in that area.

Nadal and Federer had a lead of three Grand Slam titles over Djokovic at the start of 2021, but he levelled things up by winning three of the four on offer this year.

He came close to overtaking them completely, but fell at the final hurdle in the US Open final, denying him a 21st title and a historic Calendar Grand Slam.

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Even though things are level at the moment between the trio, Nadal has admitted he does not expect the situation to remain that way for too long.

And he concedes it is the Serbian, who is younger and less troubled by injuries than his rivals, who is the most likely to pull away.

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No-one has achieved more in men's tennis than Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer © GETTY No-one has achieved more in men's tennis than Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer

"Djokovic is best positioned to be the [men's] player with the most Grand Slams," Nadal admitted to Spanish programme Vamos, on Movistar+.

"You don't have to fool yourself - Federer is where he is and I am where I am. However, Djokovic is playing well and in a good moment.

"That is the reality and you can't ignore it. We don't know what is going to happen in nine months' time, but he is the favourite right now."

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Nadal missed much of the 2021 season while nursing a foot injury, but hopes to return to action at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi later this month ahead of a tilt at the Australian Open title in January.

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It is clear he is no longer the player he once was, but the King of Clay is still likely to be a major contender at the French Open if he can stay fit for his favourite tournament.

Things look less optimistic for 40-year-old Federer, who was the first to make it to 20 Grand Slam titles but hasn't won a major tournament in almost four years.

The Swiss underwent yet another knee surgery in August and has admitted he is not sure what the future holds for his career.

Meanwhile, the first new generation to attempt to match their incredible achievements has begun to establish itself on the tour.

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 60 Grand Slam title between them © GETTY Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 60 Grand Slam title between them

Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are all inside the top four and are regular challengers in major tournaments.

While none of them have begun to consistently scoop big titles, Nadal believes they have proven they are now established in the game and no longer simply the future of the sport.

"They are no longer the Next Gen, we do not have to make it eternal," he added.

"Players like Medvedev, Zverev or Tsitsipas have already passed that stage of the Next Gen, they are the current generation, the present."

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