Rafael Nadal met the press Friday at the French Open. The six-time Roland Garros champion was upbeat after a marking a perfect 15-0 run on the red clay this year. And after consecutive wins in Monte Carlo and Madrid over Novak Djokovic that ended a seven match losing skid against his rival, Nadal sounded a little more confident about his chances against the Serb.
“I played fantastic in Australian Open, in my opinion,” Nadal said of his rivalry with Djokovic. “I played one of the best tournaments of the year for me in Australian Open. I had my chances against him there. I lost. That’s the game. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.
“I lost against him seven times in a row, seven important finals. But don’t forget that I had a good chance to win in Indian Wells, good chance to win in Miami. I had my chance in Wimbledon, I had my chance in the US Open, and I have my chance in Australia.
“So all these matches that sometimes decides for very few points I lost. Last time especially in Rome the first set was very close. These few points that changed the result, I won the points. That’s why I won. I am playing well. But you can win and you can lose when you play against the best players of the world, and Novak today, he’s No. 1.”
Nadal leads Djokovic 18-14 in their matchups, but he’s lost the last three Grand Slam finals to the Serb. At Wimbledon last year, Nadal admitted Djokovic was in his head, but the Spaniard doesn’t give that same impression today.
Nadal also spoke about Djokovic’s bid for a “Djoker Slam”. Rafa tried and failed at winning four straight at the Australian.
“This one is not gonna be more difficult because he already won three,” Nadal said. “You know, that’s the point that I want to tell. When I went to Australia in 2011 was last year? Yes, 2011 with the chance to win four in a row? I felt zero extra pressure to win that. Because when you start the tournament, when you play, you play day by day. That’s what I a, doing. I play day by day, and I win thinking about that tournament, not what happened in the past. More difficult thing is arrive to that situation. You are there, you can win, you can lose. I get injury; I lost. That’s it.
“I’m not happier today or less happy today to win or to lose that match. The life continues, and you keep working hard to try to be fit and be competitive for the next one.”
Nadal will play Simone Bolelli in his first match early next week, either Monday or Tuesday.
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