When was the last time that Rafael Nadal was not the favorite on a clay court? The always humble Nadal says that tomorrow in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open that his opponent, Novak Djokovic, is probably the favorite.
The undefeated Djokovic beat Nadal twice already this year in two stirring three set Masters finals at Indian Wells and Miami.
But this encounter shifts to clay and it’s in Nadal’s home country of Spain. However, Nadal again cautions that the altitude is an issue and that Djokovic is playing better tennis than he is.
“It’s great for the crowds, it’s great for the tournament, and for us in the end because every time it’s a big challenge and we both look forward to it,” said Djokovic. “We are competing a lot in the last couple of months and we’ve had some really good matches, especially the ones in the United States recently. Of course the memories come back from Madrid 2009, when we played that very, very long match. It’s going to be great for the people to see us play.
“Of course I am motivated to win against anybody, especially against Rafa because it’s the ultimate challenge on clay courts,” added the Serb. “You want to step in and give your best and you want to try to win. He’s an incredible player, an incredible competitor and he’s been winning on clay courts so much over the past couple of years. I know that but I need to believe I need to step on to the court and try to win.”
After beating Federer, Nadal has won 37 straight matches on clay. Djokovic, who prevailed over Thomaz Bellucci has a streak of 32 straight.
Talking about his match today, Nadal said he played more “inside” the court and more agressive in the second and third sets and that made a big difference in his comeback win over rival Roger Federer.
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