Nepal | October 22, 2020

Djokovic senses opportunity against Nadal

Reuters
Share Now:

PARIS: Novak Djokovic has suffered more than his fair share of heartache against Rafael Nadal at the French Open but Sunday’s final offers him a chance to dethrone the claycourt king.

The 33-year-old Serb leads their extraordinary rivalry 29-26 but Nadal has won six of their seven clashes at Roland Garros, including the 2012 and 2014 finals.

Djokovic won their last encounter on the Parisian clay, however, in the 2015 quarter-finals and believes Sunday’s final offers him an opportunity to get the better of the Spaniard again even if it he says playing Nadal on clay remains the toughest challenge in tennis.

“Obviously the conditions are different than the ones that we are used to playing in May and June,” Djokovic told reporters after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets on Friday.

“I think that could be a better chance for me, obviously the ball not bouncing as high over the shoulder as he likes it usually. I mean, look, regardless of the conditions, he’s still there, he’s Rafa, he’s in the finals, we’re playing on clay.”

Had it not been for Djokovic‘s default at the U.S. Open for striking a line judge with a ball swatted away in frustration during a fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta, the Serbian might have been starting Sunday’s showdown with 18 Grand Slam titles, one behind Nadal and two short of Roger Federer.

Victory would see him close the gap but defeat would leave him three shy of both of them in the race for ‘greatest of all time’ status. The stakes are huge, but Djokovic says it is not the biggest match he has played in his career.

“Finals of a Grand Slam is always huge,” the world number one said. “But I don’t think it’s the biggest match that I have ever played in my life. I think there were some bigger ones.

“In terms of importance, I mean, if I have to compare, even though I don’t like, probably the first Wimbledon final that I actually played against him (in 2011). Wimbledon was always the one that I wanted to win as a kid and dreamed of winning.

“That’s probably the one that stands out. And the French Open 2016 against Andy Murray here. Every French Open final that I played was the match of my life before I actually won it.

“This is the (Grand Slam) that I won the least, so of course I am extremely motivated to try to get my hands on another one.”

Despite the fact 12-time Roland Garros champion Nadal has sailed through the draw without dropping a set and Djokovic spent four hours beating Tsitsipas in a late finish on Friday, he said he will be firing on all cylinders on Sunday.

“I’m not feeling exhausted physically so much after tonight’s match,” he said. “It was a great battle. But I feel fine. I think a day and a half will be plenty of time for me to recover. I’m looking forward to a great battle with Rafa.”


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 5743 new cases, 2996 recoveries, 26 fatalities recorded today

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. READ MORE: Kathmandu valley registers whopping 3,107 new infections, 2,391 in capital alone Til Read More...

NMA felicitates Prince of Bahrain, Royal Bahrain Guards

KATHMANDU: Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) organised a felicitation programme for the Prince of Bahrain Sheikh Mohamed Hamad Mohamed Al Khalifa and the Royal Bahrain Guards who ascended Mt Manaslu (8,163m) and Mt Lobuche East (6,119m). The felicitation programme was carried out on October Read More...

In Pictures: President Bhandari inaugurates restored Rani Pokhari

KATHMANDU: President Bidya Devi Bhandari today inaugurated the restored Rani Pokhari, an important cultural heritage which lies at the heart of Kathmandu. During the inauguration programme, President Bhandari stated that reconstruction of Rani Pokhari was an important step towards the conservatio Read More...

Government’s decision to charge for COVID test, treatment draws flak

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 The government’s decision not to provide free COV- ID-19 test and treatment to everybody has drawn flak from constitutional, legal and health experts. The government has decided to foot the COVID test and treatment cost of only the poor, helpless, single women, differen Read More...

Nepal Telecommunications Authority alerts subscribers to disinformation

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 The Nepal Telecommunications Authority has appealed to all telecommunication subscribers of the country to be aware of the false and misleading information doing the rounds of late. Issuing a notice here today, the country’s telecommunications regulatory body stated tha Read More...

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurates Ranipokhari

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today inaugurated the historic Ranipokhari and the temple at the middle of the pond. The 2015 earthquakes had reduced the temple to rubble. President Bhandari was accompanied by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at the function today. Both th Read More...

National Examinations Board (NEB) Nepal

Grade XII exams from November 24

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 The National Examination Board, which has been authorised by the government to conduct examinations of Grade XII, has finally published the notice about conducting the examinations from November 24 to December 1. The NEB devising the new protocol to hold the examination h Read More...

Teku’s Radha Krishna temple restored

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 UNESCO, in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology, has completed rebuilding of the shikhara-style Radha Krishna temple located at the confluence of the holy Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers at Teku, Kathmandu. To mark the completion, Jeev Nyas Puja, a ritual to Read More...