Somdev Devvarman, who retired from tennis in 2017, had the opportunity to face Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray during his career. During a recent live session with Navneeth Krishna, the Indian, who is Djokovic's friend, recalled his match against Nadal at the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open in 2011.
The former World number 62 was defeated in honor in the warm Californian evening, selling the skin dearly in front of the Spaniard champion as evidenced by the final 7-5 6-4.
Novak Djokovic's advice to Devvarman
Devvarman had a fair bit of confidence under his belt, and Novak Djokovic added to that with some strong words of encouragement.
"You know you can win this match, right?" Novak Djokovic had said. "Just to let you know, he's (Nadal) got one of the worst backhands on the tour. I went in and obviously I had to play more towards the backhand than the forehand...and I think, you know, I played really well, lost 7-5, 6-4," Somdev Devvarman said.
"It gave me an insight into how the great guys think," Devvarman added. "When Novak goes out and plays Rafa, I think a part of him believes that he actually has a really bad backhand and he can actually beat him by, you know, covering that side."
The backhand of the 12-time Roland Garros champion has improved a lot in recent years, allowing them to win on other surfaces besides clay. In an interview with ESPN, the Majorcan recently built his ideal tennis player. Nadal chose the serve of Ivo Karlovic, the forehand of his friend and rival Roger Federer, the backhand of Djokovic, the slice of Grigor Dimitrov, the drop-shot of Marc Lopez and the net game by Federer or Radek Stepanek.
The 19-time Slam champion has recently resumed training in his Academy in Manacor after a long stop due to quarantine. The ATP tour is suspended until at least July 30th.