In Novak Djokovic's words: 'Rafael Nadal is a great competitor and a difficult..'



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In Novak Djokovic's words: 'Rafael Nadal is a great competitor and a difficult..'

Establishing himself in the top-20 by the end of 2006, Novak Djokovic set high goals ahead of the new season, kicking off the action with the title in Adelaide and the fourth round in Melbourne. The Serb lost twice to Mikhail Youzhny and Roger Federer before Indian Wells where he achieved the best result at Masters 1000 series after reaching the final.

The 19-year-old ousted Robby Ginepri, Evgeny Korolev, Julien Benneteau and David Ferrer in straight sets to secure the meeting with his friend and coeval Andy Murray. Instead of an entertaining encounter between two upcoming stars, the crowd got a short battle and almost no action, with Novak beating Andy 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour.

On the previous night, Murray had to stay on the court for almost three hours against Tommy Haas, prevailing in the deciding tie break and twisting his ankle that prevented him from giving 100% against the Serb.

Novak secured five breaks to have the upper hand from start to finish, staying focused and marching into the most significant final of his early career.

After the match, Novak admitted he didn't watch the other semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick, going to the practice court instead. "I didn't watch Rafael Nadal against Andy Roddick, maybe only the first couple of points before I went to practice.

They finished quickly; it was a fast match. I know the way Nadal plays; I'm familiar with his game. I couldn't finish that Roland Garros encounter against him last year but I could take away some positive things. Also, I'm learning something from every match against a rival like him.

I'm feeling pretty confident right now and comfortable on the court. We will see what will happen; I will go out and try to win. I didn't play my best tennis against Robby Ginepri in the first round but it has gotten better after that, raising my level and fighting for the title against world no.

2. I don't see any reason to be scared or thinking that I have something to lose; I will step in and try to play my best tennis. Nadal is a great competitor and a difficult player to battle against. He likes the surfaces because it bounces a lot, making it perfect for his heavy spins.

He likes to play long matches under the sun and I can't change the fact the final starts at noon." Also, Novak Djokovic was eager to show his best tennis against the Spaniard in the battle for the title, not seeing any reason to be scared and just wanting to compete on a high level against world no. 2.