The first ever meeting between the two occurred at the 2006 French Open in the quarterfinals, where Nadal prevailed after Djokovic was forced to retire with an injury in the third set. This match initiated the rivalry, with Djokovic later commenting to the media that he understood what he needed to do to beat Nadal and claiming Nadal "was beatable on clay". Their first final appearance came at the 2007 Indian Wells Masters tournament, where Nadal won the event, and this was just the second time they had met on the ATP Tour. Djokovic's first win was in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Miami Masters in their third meeting. From March 2011 to April 2013, the pair contested eleven consecutive meetings in the championship match, the only duo to ever achieve such a feat in the open era.
Some of their matches are considered to be classics and among the greatest matches of all time including the 2009 Madrid Masters Semifinal and 2013 French Open semi-final. The 2012 Australian Open final has been lauded as the greatest match ever played by some long-time tennis pundits, analysts, and former players and legends of the sport. Each one has openly stated the other to be their greatest rival and motivator to play better tennis as evidenced by the streakiness in this rivalry. This is considered to be one of the greatest rivalries ever by players, coaches, and pundits.
The first meeting between the two, which was the only one for this year, was at the French Open (Roland Garros) in the Quarterfinals. The victory went to Nadal in this match via a retirement from Djokovic after Nadal took the first two sets in fours in a matter of 114 minutes.
In 2007, the pair met seven times, Nadal winning five of them.
The first encounter took place in the finals of the Indian Wells Masters. This was Djokovic's first Masters 1000 final whereas Nadal was bidding for his 6th. Nadal won the match. Djokovic, however, got his revenge the following week, defeating Nadal for the first time in the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters in just 97 minutes.