Rafael Nadal's announcement that he could potentially retire came as a shock to everyone — Novak Djokovic included.

In addition to withdrawing from the French Open last month, Nadal also dropped a bombshell that given his injury problems, his intention was to retire in 2024.

And given his rivalry with the Spaniard over the course of 15-plus years, Djokovic feels like part of himself will leave once Nadal does.

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“I have to say that he's my biggest rival,” Djokovic told reporters (via The West). “When he announced that he's going to have his last season of (his) career, I felt part of me is leaving with him too. I feel that he was one of the most impactful people that I have ever had in my career, the growth of my career and me as a player.

“Definitely a great motivational factor for me to keep playing and keep competing and keep pushing each other – who's going achieve more, who's going to do better.”

With Roger Federer retiring last year, it means the Big Three could potentially be reduced to just Djokovic in the near future.

And that's something that definitely made the Serbian superstar ponder his own future.

“It made me wonder, it made me think about my career and how long I'm going to play,” Djokovic added. “So far I'm not going to make any announcement today, but just reflecting on it, I also felt a little bit emotional about what he was saying.”

Emotions aside, Djokovic joked that he was glad not having to face Nadal at the French Open this year despite being just one of two players to have ever beaten him at Roland Garros.

“Honestly, I don't miss him being in the draw. I don't like seeing him in the draw of Roland Garros,” Djokovic said while laughing. “I have had not so much success against him in our head-to-head record in Roland Garros. I've managed to beat him twice, but I had to leave my heart and my guts out on the court to achieve that.

“A lot of people retired him already 10 years ago but he kept going, which is something I respect and admire. I know how hard it is to maintain that level and keep going even after having a tough injury.”

Djokovic most recently enjoyed a straight set win over Marton Fucsovics in the French Open. He will play Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third round on Friday.