'Novak Djokovic is the ultimate rival for Rafael Nadal on clay', says top coach

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'Novak Djokovic is the ultimate rival for Rafael Nadal on clay', says top coach

World number one Novak Djokovic, who recently lost in the Serbian Open semi-finals, has decided to skip the upcoming Madrid Masters to play in the second ATP 250 event in Belgrade. This event takes place one week before the French Open.

The Belgrade tournament is scheduled to take place May 22-29. The 18-time Grand Slam champion has always mentioned that the majors are his priority as he intends to perform well in all four. Since the Serbia Open was a successful event, the Serbs could have chosen to stay in Serbia rather than travel to Spain or Rome to avoid the life of the bubble.

The entry list for the Belgrade 2 event has top-level players such as Gael Monfils, Adrian Mannarino, Filip Krajinovic among others. Djokovic joins Roger Federer on the roster of players to skip the Mutua Madrid Open which is scheduled for May 2.

The Serbian will keep 500 of the 1,000 points he earned by winning the title in 2019. The tournament was canceled last year. due to the covid-19 pandemic. After winning the Australian Open this year, the Serbian made his entry into the Monte Carlo Masters and was surprisingly beaten by Dan Evans in the third round.

Even in his first tournament, Djokovic lost to Russian Aslan Karatsev in three brutal sets. The Russian, who is on a roll this year, recorded the biggest victory of his career by defeating the Serbian. However, Karatsev lost to Matteo Berrettini in the final.

The world number one has yet to win a title on red turf this year, but he is making plans with bubble life in mind at various tournaments. During a recent interview, uncle Toni also shed some light on the news of Novak Djokovic's withdrawal from the Madrid Masters, and how that might affect Rafael Nadal.

Uncle Toni on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

"Novak Djokovic will have more doubts in the next tournament he plays," Toni said. "But he is one of the players who can change quickly if he plays a good match.

He is the ultimate rival for Rafael Nadal on clay." Novak Djokovic has certainly tested Rafael Nadal's claycourt skills over the years. The duo's recent matches on clay may have been lopsided, with Nadal having won the last four on the trot, but that hasn't always been the case.

The Spaniard used to find it tough to break down Djokovic's game during the early 2010s, even on his favorite surface.