Goran Ivanisevic led Novak Djokovic towards his 18th Major title at the Australian Open a couple of weeks ago. Novak overcame all the obstacles to claim his ninth Melbourne Park crown, battling against seven rivals and an abdomen injury to extend his incredible run at the season's first Major.
Speaking about the previous season, Goran said it wasn't easy to accept the US Open and Roland Garros results, reminding that Djokovic barely played any role against Rafael Nadal in the Paris title match. In the semis, the Serb ousted Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets in just under four hours, wasting a match point in the third set and numerous chances in the fourth before prevailing in the decider.
As it turned out, Djokovic had nothing more left in the tank for the most formidable rival, with Nadal scoring a dominant 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 triumph in two hours and 41 minutes for his 20th Major crown. Rafa lost serve once and scored seven breaks to control the pace, beating Novak in the shortest rallies and standing too strong from the baseline to secure his 13th Roland Garros crown in the last 16 years.
Ivanisevic is aware that Novak has to be on a much higher level physically to challenge Nadal at Roland Garros, hoping for a different outcome in three months if they meet in Paris again.
Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-05 in Paris last year.
"I think everybody saw that it was a tough period for Novak.
The New York exit came as a shocking one; no one could have expected that, especially when he was on a trail for another Major title. Novak won the title in Rome, but he wasn't at his best. I don't even want to mention the Roland Garros final, as he didn't show up in that one.
The good thing is, Novak can't play worse than that, even if he tries. Rafa would still be the favorite in Paris, but the favorite can't win it every time. Also, Novak has to be at 100% physically and feel that he can stay on the court as long as necessary.
In that Roland Garros final against Rafa, Novak wasn't ready to spend 15 hours on the court and do his best to beat Nadal. That's why he went for drop shots and picked some wrong solutions. Against Medvedev in Melbourne, it was clear that Novak was prepared to stay on the court and fight for 30 hours if necessary; that's what he needs against Rafa in Paris. When he feels he is physically at 100%, his game usually follows that pattern," says Goran Ivanisevic.