Novak Djokovic is poised to end Rafael Nadal’s four-year reign at the French Open.
Sport.co.uk reported that the world’s No. 2 tennis player thinks he has learned the secret to beating Nadal, the top-ranked men’s player on his favorite surface. Nadal has won eight French Open titles, including four straight.
Nadal defeated Djokovic in an epic five-set semifinal on the clay at Roland Garros in 2013, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 9-7 en route to his record eighth French Open championship.
“What happened, and everything happens for a reason,” said Djokovic. “Those losses that I had against Nadal in the big matches made me understand what I need to do to become a better and stronger player. That’s all that matters now.”
Nadal ended 2013 taking away the No. 1 world ranking away from Djokovic, but the Serb beat the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4 in November to capture the ATP World Tour Finals. The victory was Djokovic’s second straight over Nadal and helped him finish 2013 on a 22-match winning streak.
The run has given Djokovic a new lease on conquering his nemesis.
“I won over 20 matches in a row so with all the confidence that’s given me, I’m heading into the new season feeling great,” Djokovic said, “and hopefully this can be the year for me where I can challenge Rafa at Roland Garros.”
Despite Djokovic’s recent success, he knows the arduous task ahead of him in taking down a rejuvenated Nadal, who rebounded from a knee-injury to recapture the No. 1 ranking.
“He has improved his game immensely on hard courts this year,” Djokovic told Sport.co.uk. “He’s been positioning himself really well, staying closer to the line and using his forehand around the court really well, as well as serving more efficiently, which was, of course, giving me and other players a lot of trouble. And there’s the fact that he’s one of the fittest and physically toughest players in the world. He’s made himself an even more complete player on a surface that was his least favorite.”
© 2018 Sportsworldnews.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.