Rafael Nadal’s struggled continued against Novak Djokovic on Sunday, losing to the Serb 63, 63 in the Miami Sony Open final.
Nadal, who’s now a 4-time runner-up at the event, has lost three straight to Djokovic and falls to 7-14 in their hardcourt head-to-head.
Rafa said Djokovic takes control very early in the points, and from there it’s tough for him to gain an advantage.
“He was able to find the right spot, the right position that was able to be in negative positions too early in the point,” Nadal said. “Today I felt that he played great, but I feel that he doesn’t need to hit a great shot to be an advantage on the point.
“So playing against him is the worst thing that can happen for me, because in general, talking about the first two shots, he has a better return than my one, he has a better serve than my one in this surface, especially.
“And the things that I can be same level than him or better than him is when the point, when the rally is going and when the point is becoming intense, and I was able to hit maybe with a little bit high intensity sometime as I did last year in the US Open or in Canada.
“Was not that day, you know. On the rally points I feel I was in tough conditions, in negative conditions, and this is impossible to play against him when you have that feeling.”
Nadal still will go into the clay season full of confidence after a good first three months of the season.
“Having a great start of the season for me, always the final of Australian Open change a little bit everything,” Nadal said. “But for the rest, knowing that after Australia I had my problem in the back for a while, and I played Rio with not my 100% conditions, and I arrived Indian Wells so‑so because I didn’t serve for a long time before Indian Wells, so in general I did a good start of the season, no? Winning two tournaments, playing Grand Slam final, Masters 1000 final.”
“Is great I am in the top of the race arriving to the clay court season,” he said. “That’s positive for me, but at the end now we start the clay court season, and I need to be my 100% to make a little bit the difference there, no, to try to be aggressive, to try to move myself very well on clay, and to try to find the best feeling possible as soon as possible.”
Nadal will once again had to defend a bunch of ranking points. Last year he reached the Monte Carlo final then won Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and then the French Open.
Rafa’s won 28 straight matches on clay since losing to Djokovic in the 2013 Monte Carlo final.
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