After a long drought, Novak Djokovic finally got his hands back on ATP hardware on Sunday beating rival Rafael Nadal to win the China Open in Beijing.
The title was the Serb’s first since beating Nadal in Monte Carlo and offered some needed relief after several losses to the Spaniard.
“I needed this win today,” Djokovic said. “I really wanted to get my hands on the trophy and win against Nadal, who has been the best player so far in 2013.”
Novak said that after close calls with Nadal this summer, he’s learned his lesson on playing Rafa.
“[I needed that] emotional stability in the crucial moments I managed to stay tough and not drop in the concentration, which I think I did in both Montréal and US Open in the important moments,” he said. “I learned my lesson. It was few very tough and close matches that I lost against Rafa in hard courts, especially the last one in US Open final.”
Djokovic had lost his last three matches to Rafa, though even after the win he still trails
22-15 22-16 in their rivalry.
And he pointed out that his serve, which Nadal never saw a breakpoint against, was a key factor, adding that doubles was a huge help.
“That’s crucial, you know, to get that confidence, necessary confidence when you play top guys, and somebody like Nadal that loves to get into the rally, loves to be in his comfort zone. I was trying to always move him around the court. I’ve done pretty well.”
Djokovic did win the title, but he also lost his top ranking to Rafa. He says, though, he’ll do his best to get it back.
Djokovic, who is 19-0 at the Beijing ATP event, now continues his Asian defense in Shanghai this week. He’ll play Marcel Granollers in the second round on Wednesday (Tuesday night U.S.).
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