I'm not talking about peak game vs peak game, or that kind of stuff. I'm talking about which one is/was the better ambassador or icon for tennis. Which one made you prouder to say "That guy is the world #1 of my beloved sport"
. Which one is/was more worthy of that position at the top? Okay. Let's start.
Off court Persona
Nadal always try to present himself as an underdog fighting against the odds. While this can paint him as a humble champion, it also feels kind of forced. How can he not be the favorite? He's the world #1 after all. Although to be fair, he was always like that even before he became #1. Nadal is very good at interviews despite his busted english.
Djokovic discarded his cocky attitude and toned down his joker behavior. He loves being the crowd favorite, up to the point that he tries too hard. Other than that, just like Nadal, he's very good at interviews. Maybe better, even. He's a confident #1. Knows he's the best, and it shows. To me, this is how the world #1 should be. Confident, borderline arrogant. If you're the best, be proud of it. Return winner from Djokovic.
Nadal 0-15 Djokovic.
On court Persona
Both are very emotional on court. Nadal jumping and vamosing, Djokovic screaming and chest-thumping. Some find it endearing, some find it annoying. Take your pick. Both are super competitive and do anything for the win, even resorting to gamesmanship and bending the rules, unfortunately. This is where both failed in the eyes of many fans. Unforced error from both.
Nadal 15-30 Djokovic.
Nadal is a defensive baseliner with a great attacking shot. He plays consistent tennis and lives from his opponent mistakes, most of the times. But when he goes on the attack with his FH, it's devastating. And being a defensive baseliner, his defensive game is supreme. Legendary, even. The ultra-spin FH is his signature.
Djokovic is more of a balanced baseliner. Great defense, great offense, good FH, good BH. At a glance, he has a complete baseline game with nothing that really stands out. But if you look closely, Djokovic has an uncanny ability to take the rally back to neutral from a very disadvantageous situation. This is what made him better.
Both players play the game that are very suited for todays conditions. Some may not like it, but hey, they're winning. and it seems like a lot of fans loves it. Winner for both guys.
Nadal 30-40 Djokovic.
No contest here. Nadal is more popular. Granted a lot of his popularity came from when he was #2 behind Federer. Everybody that know Federer, know Nadal as Federer's nemesis. And we all know how popular Federer is. So there you go. Nadal hits a 1-2 combo.
Nadal 40-40 Djokovic.
While Nadal's reign in 2008 and 2010 were great, Djokovic's 2011 reign was better. Djokovic showed domination that can only be rivaled by the mighty Federer. There's almost no uncertainty when Djokovic is playing. He will win. Djokovic with a screamer down the line.
Nadal 40-A Djokovic.
The last time he was #1, Nadal already put himself in the legendary position in tennis. 9 slams and career golden slam was an intimidating resume. Just like a general, the more shiny medals on him, the better. No denying that Djokovic's accomplishments are great, but they're still a long way away from Nadal's. A passing FH from Nadal, and we're back to deuce.
Nadal 40-40 Djokovic.
There you go. Djokovic has the advantage. What do you think guys? Have anything to add for Nadal so he can get back to deuce? Or for Djokovic so he can take the game? Or you don't agree and want to change the score all together? Do it, then! Let's go!