'Rafael Nadal could not be the same player', says former No. 1

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'Rafael Nadal could not be the same player', says former No. 1
'Rafael Nadal could not be the same player', says former No. 1 (Provided by Tennis World USA)

“After his umpteenth final victory, Novak Djokovic spoke of love”. Djokovic “is used to making speeches, and they are often full of pathos. Last year, also in Melbourne, he talked about the tragic death of basketball player Kobe Bryant and the devastating forest fires that hit Australia in 2020.

In 2021 the arguments were easier, the pathos remained the same". But Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer from this point of view are unattainable. They have a love and a respect that he can't get. Indeed in the last year he has collected tons of attacks and criticisms, often motivated.

So he just has to compete at least for the titles. Nadal and Federe both have 20 Grand Slam titles, two more. And Djokovic really cares about it: “It's a competition between us. And as long as I'm there, I compete. I want to break records, I want to win more Grand Slam titles than others, ”he said.

Spiegel writes that champions of this level rarely admit to keeping us that way. Djokovic in two weeks will break Federer's record of 310 weeks at the top of the world rankings: "It is a great relief to have been able to achieve this," he said.

The truth is that on the pitch “Djokovic has been the best tennis player in the world for years. But it often seems that winning games and titles is not enough for him. Sometimes it seems he is also interested in being as popular as his two big competitors.

“It wasn't fair to criticize me like that. He hurt me too. But in the last few years I have acquired thick skin. None of this has any effect on my performance. This trophy is my answer to all this." Boris Becker believes that Rafael Nadal’s shock five-set defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open may have dented the Mallorcan's confidence levels for the 2021 French Open.

Becker on Rafael Nadal's defeat in Melbourne

Boris Becker claimed that Rafael Nadal looked like a spent force in the fifth set against Stefanos Tsitsipas, eventually getting outlasted by his younger opponent. The German also pointed out that Nadal’s play style requires an immense amount of physical exertion, which could come back to haunt the Spaniard.

"For the first time I can recall Rafael Nadal looked really tired in that fifth set, he was beaten physically, and the others will have seen that," Becker said. "The Spaniard’s style is so physical that it is going to take a toll.

I am actually surprised that he has played to this incredibly high level for so long." He followed that by sounding a word of caution about Nadal’s age, which he believes could be catching up to him. "While it would be foolish to bet against him for Paris, when he gets that little step slower he will not be the same player," Becker concluded.

Rafael Nadal