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Stop lying to audience: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal accused of fooling around with rivals



One of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s old rivals has accused the tennis icons of “kidding” their rivals by having the ability to win Grand Slams injured. Gilles Simon praised the two 22-time Major champions for being a cut above the rest as he explained how they still managed to be stronger than their opponents when physically hampered.

Djokovic recently won a historic 10th Australian Open title while carrying a hamstring injury, dropping just one set all tournament in a tiebreak in the second round. It allowed him to tie long-time rival Nadal in the men’s singles Grand Slam race as his 22nd overall title, and he wasn’t the only one who lifted a Major trophy while injured.

En route to his own record 22nd Grand Slam title at last year’s French Open, Nadal played through a food injury by using numbing injections to stop himself feeling the pain – something he revealed after winning his 15th Roland Garros crown. And both men have now been praised for their ability to outperform the rest of the field even through physical setbacks.

Former world No 6 Simon recently opened up on the realities of playing through injury during fellow pro Gael Monfils’ Twitch stream and revealed that he had done the same, though not to the extent of the Big Three. “How many times have you seen me reach the third round or round-of-16 in pain? Lots of times,” the retired 38-year-old confessed.

“You saw me on crutches in Australia, I had the ankle that had turned against Richard [Gasquet]. I still made the third round.” Simon then discussed how players appeared to have something of a ceiling while injured, with his being the third or fourth round, while the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer still expected to win the title.

“Third round or fourth round, it was my level,” he continued. “So sometimes, even hampered, I reached my level. Novak, Rafa, Roger, their level is to win Grand Slams. You, sometimes, at 70 per cent, you got the same result as when you were on the job.”

And the recently-retired star admitted that it came as something of a kick in the teeth to their rivals, who failed to defeat the likes of Djokovic and Nadal even when they were hindered by their injuries.
Simon added: “When it’s Novak or Rafa, we think they’re kidding us because they win the Grand Slam. But winning the Grand Slam is their level. They have such a margin on the guys behind that, not even fully, they win. They are stronger.”

Simon ended his 20-year playing career at the end of last season at his home tournament, the Paris Masters, where he managed to reach some milestones before retiring. He downed Andy Murray in his opening match to become the 24th man in the Open Era to record 300 hard court wins and went on to upset then-world No 11 Taylor Fritz in a three-hour thriller before losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the last-16, officially retiring.

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