World number 1 Novak Djokovic has claimed that the rivalry currently enjoyed between himself and Rafael Nadal is great for the tennis. This era of tennis is already regarded as perhaps the best the sport has seen, with levels of skill and fitness never before reached as well as some of the best individuals ever.

Federer holds the record for the most Grand Slams ever won, and the competition he had to deal with from Nadal was breath-taking. But now, their struggle has been relegated by the emergence of a new number one men’s player – Novak Djokovic. Nadal upped his game and has become the Serb’s foremost challenger, meeting him in every Grand Slam final in the last year, while Federer has dropped to third, not quite being abel to keep pace with the younger players this time.

“Federer and Nadal have still, I think, the biggest rivalry in the sport, because they have been at the top for so many years, they have been so dominant,” said Djokovic. “I just joined that rivalry recently, a couple of years ago. “I think the sport is experiencing some really good times now. We’re attracting a lot of attention to men’s tennis because we have these two great players, and Murray, myself, and we really have some great players, some charismatic players, a lot of personalities. This is good for tennis.”

The recently completed French Open at Roland Garros was the first time for a while that Nadal has managed to best his rival, but if there was anyone, anywhere who was going to put a stop to Djokovic’s attempt at holding all four Grand Slams at once, it was Nadal in Paris. The Spaniard added the seventh French title to his trophy cabinet, making him the most successful player there in history. But for a while this seemed in danger of slipping away from him. He won the first two sets – and no-one has ever beaten him from this position – but then Novak reacted and won 8 games in a row, giving him a commanding hold on the fourth set. However, the rain interceded at the point, and gave Nadal a welcome reprieve, which he made the most of by breaking back, and eventually winning both the set and the tournament.

Djokovic is still at the top of the men’s game by quite a margin, despite this setback, and it will take some extraordinary play to stop him in the next few Grand Slams. This won’t worry Nadal too much though, as he faced the same situation with Federer and overcame the difficulties. Whatever happens, it should be another year of stunning tennis from the top three players in the world.