Djokovic Dominates Aussie Open & Nadal Rules at Roland Garros | Can 2021 Change This?
Rafael Nadal finding it ‘difficult’ to ‘solve’ the Novak Djokovic riddle on Australian Open hard courts.
It quite similar to how Novak Djokovic would feel against Rafael Nadal on clay courts – especially Roland Garros.
“Rafael Nadal is yet to overcome the Novak Djokovic challenge on the Australian Open hard courts”, in the words of former WTA world No 1 Lindsay Davenport.
The duo met in the final of the Australian Open in 2019, but Djokovic demolished his fierce rival 6–3, 6–2, 6–3 in just over 2 hours while their only other encounter in Melbourne Park was way back at the 2012 final when Djokovic won a five-setter in a marathon 5 hours and 53 minutes.
The overall hard-court head to head statistics are also pointing clearly in favour of the Serb as he leads the head-to-head count 20-7.
Defending champion Djokovic will be eyeing his 9th title in Melbourne at the 2021 Australian Open and many believe Nadal will again be his toughest road block, but Davenport feels the Spaniard is yet to device a game plan to beat the world No 1 in Australia.
It just seems like when Rafa gets to the end of the tournament and he has to face the world no. 1 Novak Djokovic his body is held up. Novak’s a superior hard-court player in those conditions for some strange reason and it’s been tough for Rafa to solve that.
Renowned tennis coach Paul Annacone also acknowledges that he won’t bet on Rafael Nadal to win the 2021 Australian Open should the 20-time Grand Slam winner face Djokovic in any round. The only miracle that could work in Nadal’s favor is that he doesn’t have to face Novak at any stage. In other words a 2021 Australian Open final with Nadal facing any other opponent other than Djockovic is the only scenario when the Spaniard can add one more to his 20 titles.
“I think very simply, Rafa is just a little bit worse on hard court than Novak in particular and Roger [Federer] as well on a faster hard court,” he said. “But everyone else I’d put him ahead of. If he plays Novak at the end of the tournament, I’m not betting on him. But if he plays anyone else I’ll bet on him. I think the biggest thing for Nadal is to get through the first week relatively comfortably” in the words of coach Paul Annacone.
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