Novak Djokovic reveals what made him confident against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

by   |  VIEW 5867

Novak Djokovic reveals what made him confident against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic claimed his second Roland Garros crown in June, toppling Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas to secure the 19th Major trophy. Seeking the first Parisian crown in five years, the Serb passed all the obstacles en route to the crown, beating Lorenzo Musetti and Stefanos Tsitsipas from two sets to love down and delivering Nadal's third loss at his favorite event.

After four hours and 11 minutes, Novak ousted Rafa 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2, prevailing in the third set and sealing the deal in the fourth against the rival who struggled with a foot injury. Djokovic was determined to beat Nadal after five straight losses on clay, giving his best in the Rome final a few weeks before Roland Garros and drawing positive vibes despite finishing on the losing side.

Studying the match with his team, Novak knew what he had to chance at Roland Garros to challenge Rafa and beat him on clay for the first time since Rome 2016! Seeking the tenth Rome title, Nadal ousted Djokovic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 after grueling two hours and 50 minutes to join Novak on 36 Masters 1000 titles.

Rafa fired 37 winners and 23 unforced errors to overpower a great rival and beat him for the 28th time in 57 encounters. Nadal won only a couple of points more than Djokovic, trailing in the more extended rallies and erasing the deficit in the quickest exchanges up to four strokes that led him towards the victory.

They broke each other in the encounter's early stages and stayed neck and neck for over an hour in the opening set, like many times before.

Novak Djokovic gathered confidence despite the Rome Open final loss to Nadal.

Rafa grabbed a crucial break at 5-5 when Novak netted an easy forehand and held after deuce to wrap up the set and gain a massive boost.

Staying calm, Djokovic raised his level in set number two and left Nadal far behind with a double break, rattling off five straight games to become a favorite ahead of the decider and find the right formula for their upcoming Roland Garros clash.

Battling hard to remain in touch, Rafa saved break chances at 2-2 in the final set and grabbed a break at love in the next one to forge a 4-2 advantage. Djokovic saved a match point in game eight with a service winner before Nadal moved over the top with a hold at 30 a few minutes later to celebrate the title, his first at the Masters 1000 level since 2019.

"The win in Belgrade gave me excellent preparation. I'm in a good state of mind and body, striking the ball well. Rafa will always give you his best on any surface. He will always produce some high-quality tennis, particularly on clay.

That's his most preferred surface and where he is always at his best. Record-wise, I lost the last five matches on clay against Rafa; we had some close battles, and he dominated the others. I could not match his level, and it's always high when he plays on clay; if you can not respond in the same way, you do not stand a chance against him.

If we both reach the Roland Garros semi-final, I know what I need to do. Last year, I had a great run at Roland Garros but could not match Rafa's performance in the final. Hopefully, if I get a chance to play him again in Paris, the level of my tennis will be different.

For example, we pushed each other to the limits in Rome a few weeks ago, staying in touch until the last point. That match gives me good feelings ahead of our potential clash here in Paris," Novak Djokovic said.