For the last couple of years, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been the dominant figures in men's tennis, overcoming injuries and standing above the others thanks to their incredible performance at Majors. Speaking about Novak and Rafa, the former US Open champion Marin Cilic said they bring an incredible intensity to the court, fighting for every point like the last one.
Alongside their skills and abilities, Marin believes that their dominance at Majors lies in the fact that one has to battle against them for four or five hours and endure all the pressure to win three sets. Stefanos Tsitsipas did that against Rafa at the Australian Open, losing the opening two sets before raising his game to challenge the great rival and impose his strokes.
The Greek won the third set's tie break and stole Nadal's serve once in sets four and five to wrap up a thrilling victory and deliver only the third Rafa's loss from two sets to love in front. On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev couldn't do the same against Novak Djokovic in the final, facing a massive task on both serve and return from the very first point and propelling Novak towards a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 triumph and the 18th Major crown.
Marin Cilic praised Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and their mental strength.
"I would say, for example, Rafa and Novak are pretty similar in their intensity. They play every single point like it's a match point.
Roger is more focused on the change of pace and speed, relying a lot of his game on a fast game, great serve, great forehand, you know, just mixing up the game and playing aggressive tennis. Roger's movement and sharpness are incredible.
Novak and Rafa are the best in tennis that creates pressure. For example, if you watched the Australian Open final against Medvedev. Novak put pressure on Daniil from the first point, and it's a constant one. You are always feeling like he's pushing you.
When you Major matches against them, you have to follow their pace for four or five hours. Alongside their abilities, that's the crucial element why they are so successful at Majors," says Marin Cilic.