Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal claims he was unaware of the comments coach Goran Ivanisevic made before the French Open final. Ivanisevic, a member of Novak Djokovic's coaching staff, believed the Serb was the No.
1 favorite to win it all at Roland Garros and that Nadal would have no chance against him. Several days later after the comments made by Ivanisevic, Nadal and Djokovic clashed in the French Open final -- in which the Spaniard dominated the Serb 6-0 6-2 7-5 to claim a record 13th French Open title.
"I swear that I didn't hear what Ivanisevic said before the final. Someone told me after," Nadal claimed, per Jose Morgado.
Ivanisevic insisted Nadal would be the underdog against Djokovic
"I'm counting on Novak - Nadal in the final, in which, in my opinion, Nadal has no chance in these conditions, on this clay and with Novak, who has got into his head.
I went a little too far, but in my opinion Novak is the number one favorite. He brought his body, his head and preparation to perfection. He prepares everything in detail, from tactics, technique, to nutrition, and he adheres to it.
That’s the most important thing because I couldn’t stick to half of it, but he knows it makes him better, he wants to progress every day and it’s very interesting to work with him because he wants something better every day, at least 0.00001 percent, but something has to be happening, I have never seen such a mentality in my life," Ivanisevic told HRT during the French Open, as quoted on Sport Klub.
After the final, Ivanisevic admitted he was wrong and admitted that Nadal outplayed Djokovic in every aspect. "Nadal outplayed him tactically and in every other aspect," Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors. "The same thing happened in Melbourne last year, with reversed roles – Novak “killed” Rafa back then, and now Rafa has hit back.
A lot of expectations, a lot at stake… So the last two Slam finals they have played have not been the best quality-wise. The cause? I am not sure… Everything started badly, Novak got broken from 40-15 up, and it is hard to come back when you make Rafa feel comfortable in Paris.
I felt that the conditions favored Novak as well, but it was like he did not show up, and Rafa just kept pounding and pounding. There was a glimpse of hope at 5-4 in the third, but there was no way back at that stage."