Djokovic and Nadal are both in Madrid Open semi-final action this evening, knowing a victory each will set up a mouth-watering final between the pair.
In the Spanish capital, Nadal was quizzed on if he would rather play against younger or older opponents.
“I don’t think it makes a difference,” Nadal said.
“I don’t think it’s significant and if it’s real, I will say that I prefer one so far.”
However, world No 1 Djokovic believes NextGen stars provide a much sterner challenge than the veteran – with the Big Four apart.
“I think first of all I believe in general something that will probably never change is that biologically, if you are younger, you know, you recover faster,” Djokovic said.
“You have more capacities to train and to build. So that is an advantage age-wise for sure. That’s how biology works.
“I remember when I was breaking through to the top 100 and coming in to professional tennis waters as a teenager.
“It was definitely a less professional approach from players than it is today.
“Of course, with the exceptions of the top guys, but I think now you have just a much larger group of players, more players in general that are taking care of their bodies, what they eat, how much they sleep because it matters, especially in this sport that is individual, so you can’t really rely on anybody else but yourself.
“And to the last point, whether it’s more difficult or not to make the breakthrough today than it was maybe when Nadal and I were doing that.
“I think in terms of points, the points system, it is because when we were coming up, there was a different ranking points system in place.
“And there was not as much of a distance or this balance between the opening rounds and the later rounds and it was, I think, a little bit more evenly distributed. So, from the ranking standpoint I think it’s more difficult.
“But at the same time, because all the advancements that we talked about, and just the amount of tournaments that you have, and I think for most of the guys also coming from the countries where federations are strong and financially stable, you know, also they have big teams of people.
“Right away, I mean, as soon as they get on a junior tour level you see them with coaches, physios. That was never the case before.
“So, a definite advancement, so it’s kind of both ways in a way.”