Novak Djokovic: Because Of Injuries We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Will Bring For Rafael Nadal
by Tom Gainey | February 25th, 2015, 10:09 am
  • 70 Comments

After a win yesterday in Dubai over Vasek Pospisil, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic assessed the current state of rival Rafael Nadal, indicating that due to his injuries Rafa remains an unpredictable player.

“I know him for a long time and I know one thing: that he’s a great competitor,” Djokovic said. “He’s been struggling with injuries throughout his career, it’s obvious. He had couple big injuries that kept him away from the tour for six months‑plus. If he’s going to play as well as he did in previous years now in the clay court season or hard court, we don’t know. We don’t know what tomorrow brings.

“Obviously he didn’t play at the level, you know, that is recognizable for him in Australia. His standard was lower of play. If it is because of the physical fatigue or anything that concerns his physicality, I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure that he speaks his mind.

“But again, an example, he was absent from the tour in 2012 for most of the year and then coming and having his best year of his life, so, you know, you can’t really say. It’s a bit unpredictable with Rafa because he’s such a strong player, and he has a very powerful game so he relies on his strength. He relies on his movement. And if his body is not listening to him, then it’s kind of difficult for him to play.

“But clay court season is coming up. I’m sure that there’s where he wants to perform his best. That’s the surface that hurts him the least out of all the surfaces on the tour.”

Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in a thrilling 2014 French Open final, continues his quest for a fifth Dubai title today against Andrey Golubev. He is seeking his 50th career ATP title this week, a mark that would break the tie he shares with coach Boris Becker at 49.

“I didn’t have any special celebration for 40th or 30th, but I think as 50th is something unique,” Djokovic said. “It’s early to talk about the title here. The tournament just started Hopefully can happen here, and if it does, then we will make it count.”


You Might Like:
Novak Djokovic: The Good Thing Is I Don’t Need Wrist Surgery, But I Don’t When I Can Play Tennis Again
Andy Murray On Who’s The French Open Favorite: I Don’t Know And I Don’t Care!
Rafael Nadal: “Thankfully the Tests Don’t Show an Injury”
A Rome Tournament Staffer Harassed Novak Djokovic: “Don’t Try To Be Special, Man!” [Video]
Ernests Gulbis: ‘I Don’t Care About Money, I Don’t Care About Fame’

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

70 Comments for Novak Djokovic: Because Of Injuries We Don’t Know What Tomorrow Will Bring For Rafael Nadal

brando Says:

““I know him for a long time and I know one thing: that he’s a great competitor”: major, major props to novak for saying. Rafael is a born fighter. No matter what the situation: he’ll never quit fighting. And Novak knows that, shows Rafael due respect and doesn’t knock him when he’s down unlike some. He knows rafa since childhood and he fully knows despite whatever problems rafa has- and he’s had many including novak- he’ll never quit. He’ll never stop fighting regardless of the odds. A warrior like that with such a unique spirit should be respected and not written off. Props to novak for showing Rafael the respect he surely warrants.


jane Says:

“We don’t know what tomorrow brings.” right! very measured and honest comments. rafa’s play hasn’t been at its highest level but he’s on clay now and he may bounce back any day. it’s just a wait and see, day by day, situation.


Hippy Chick Says:

Im not really sure what Novaks getting at here,everyones starting from scratch at the begining of a new year,so Rafas no different,you can appreciate his concern for a fellow player whos struggling with his form i suppose,other than that i dont really know what hes getting at?….


Patson Says:

@HC

I would imagine somebody asked him a question about Rafa and that was his response. In all honesty, all the points he said are spot on about Rafa.


Hippy Chick Says:

Very measured and honest comments?hmm yeah i suppose so,but what exactly is Novak saying here that people dont already know anyway?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Patson fair enough,just sounds like a none story story,i just dont know why they are bringing Novak into Rafas injuries and form,but whatever?….


jane Says:

agree patson – seems like a reply in his press conference i am assuming.


brando Says:

And Novak is right about Rafael’s level of play. He’s speaking the truth. And in all honesty: how Rafael be accused of playing below par? He started the year from 0 like everyone. Yes he lost his first match of the season at Doha but it was after all his first match back post injury. Even Novak lost relatively early there. He reached AO quarter final- how on earth is that a bad result in his first full event injury free in 7 months? What was one expecting him to do there post injury? Win it in his first full event back? Ridiculous expectation. He did well there. And now Rio. Look at the circumstances he lost in. ANY reasoned minded individual can see he was unfortunate in certain regards. So all in all: I think some are being unfair to rafa. They are not showing understanding to him and his situation and extrapolating his situation to an extent that reality does not warrant. Professionals like Djokovic, Federer and even Andy Murray though in recent months have all shown support to their fellow peer. Certain people should follow suit I suggest.


Hippy Chick Says:

^As i said fair enough,but im not sure what hes getting at^….


jane Says:

hippy chick, “getting at”?

he’s just answering a question, which was as follows:

“over the last few days nadal has been sort of complaining. he says i’m not the same player i am, i’m tired, my fitness is not good you know… do you think he’s bluffing or do you kind of have a thought on this situation?”

nole stated clearly that the situation is uncertain and credits rafa with being a “great competitor.” he says we have to wait and see what his form brings on clay because he’s obviously been plagued with injury. yet we have all seen great comebacks from rafa, so nole’s basically saying “don’t count him out.”


Emily Says:

Maybe they’re trying to get him to talk about RG and his chances against Rafa. The press, as demonstrated by the recent issues b/w Novak and Andy, want there to be friction and drama, and Novak seems to be trying to avoid that. I think a shorter answer might have been better to a question about Rafa’s level.
Brando, agree that Rafa’s AO showing was good and he didn’t seem that far from the form that got him to the final, except those first 2 sets against Berdych.


Hippy Chick Says:

Jane i didnt mean that the way it sounded,as in Novaks getting at Rafa,i just meant what does Novak mean?and i still dont understand,when/if the press asked Novak about Rafa why didnt he simply say Rafas game/form/injuries are his buisness,Rafa is as you say a great competitor,cant we just leave out the hard luck stories,which get rather irritating at times….


Hippy Chick Says:

Why is it you post your opinion,and gets taken completely out of context,i apologize i probably shouldnt have said anything?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Emily Rafa is facing the law of averages when it comes to RG,its inevitable that the run will come to an end sooner or later,i think some are feeling that if Rafa doesnt Novak will,shock horror just supposing niether win it,niether won AO,USO last year,or W in 2013,niether is a shoo,and neither have some god given right either….


Okiegal Says:

@Chick…….The press simply asking questions to try to get some drama started……ho hum…..


Ben Pronin Says:

Why is Nadal playing a lowly 250 event when everyone else is playing 500 events? Is he going to play a challenger next week?


brando Says:

Maybe he’s following federers lead Ben and wants to sign up for 250 point clay events. If Federer signs up for challengers next he might do the same no?


Hippy Chick Says:

Its not a deep field Ben,so maybe its just a way of getting some matches under his belt,preparing for RG,just second guessing here though….


Emily Says:

@HC, I have no problem w/ the RG script getting rewritten, but the safe prediction is either Novak or Rafa winning RG as they are the two best clay court players. However, the FO has had some interesting outcomes. There were years in Paris when Coria or Ferrero should have won, but we got Costa and Gaudio instead. Maybe it’s Ferrer that has the breakthrough or simply someone who plays an inspired two weeks. No-one is owed a major, they have to win it themselves. Still, they would have a mountain to climb to get past at least one of the favorites in Novak or Rafa.

@Ben, I saw a cynical article that said Nadal’s playing in Argentina b/c of an appearance fee, but I think Dubai falls into that category too. Just a rumor, but who knows?


Jack Lewis Says:

Yes I’m sure the ATP really wants players to be rude when asked dumb questions which happens all the time…
I don’t know what she is getting at…


Ben Pronin Says:

Comparing Dubai to Buenos Aires? Huge slap in the face to an event that has been consistently recognized as one of the best for years now.


chris ford1 Says:

Hippy Chick, I almost think you are being deliberately obtuse, when you keep asking what Nole’s comments REALLY MEAN…..
They are pretty clear.
Djokovic is not privy to the inner details of Rafa’s hurts and diagnosis and basically says that to the reporter asking, and talks of what he knows of Rafa from many years..he is a supreme competitor and has had injuries before and come back. He wanted to flavor that with praise for a man he highly respects, express hopes for a full recovery like Rafa had after two long absences, and did so.

Djokovic has been fortunate. With his allergies and diet and respiratory issues resolved, he has emerged like Connors, Lendl, and Federer as an Ironman. He has a style of play that does not pound him down.
But around him, he has seen players close to him battle injury over the years. Like Andy, Janko Tipsarevic, del Potro, Jo Tsonga, Fed – and speaks from experience on what it means from his perspective.
He has also seen close family and a dear coach battle serious illness over prolonged time. And like most of us that have seen loved ones with long standing illness and some die, he knows a few words of support mean a lot, and you can’t predict recovery or crippling or death.


brando Says:

@chris Ford 1: excellent post. There’s absolutely nothing wrong his response at all. It’s typical really: the players are class acts and if anything if fishy it’s the mainstream media: who care not for ethics but only for the quick buck. Novak knocked them back brilliantly here.


Emily Says:

@Ben, I was only making the comparison b/w Dubai and Buenos Aires regarding in the fact that both tournaments are paying the players appearance fees. I don’t know how the negotiations work, why players play where they do, but Dubai doesn’t have such a strong field by coincidence.


Hippy Chick Says:

Chris Ford1,Novak doesnt really say anything that we dont already know,and hes not privy to the details on Rafas injuries etc,so why not simply say its none of my buisness,and why dont you ask Rafa himself?not been deliberatly obtuse or anything whatever that means?….


sienna Says:

Yes like nadal wants to fly across oceans to get his ass kicked in first round.
He wants to get in the winners circle instead of being in winers circle.
Winning back to back clay courts tourney was what he wanted. Now they settle for second best. Winning without losing serve and sets that go till 2or3


Ngentot Says:

Hippy Chick,

“why not simply say it’s none of his business, ….? Because his way of thinking is not exactly the same as Hippy Chick’s one, I guess.Why do you expect Novak to say what you wanted him to say about Nadal?

As Brando pointed out, there’s nothing wrong with what Novak said. Got it? Let’s just leave it at that. Novak clearly respects Rafa very much.


Hippy Chick Says:

Ngentot OK SORRY got it….?apologies to all especially Jane,Brando,Chris Ford1,Jack Lewis and yourself,Novak clearly respects Rafa very much….


sienna Says:

Lol
Such a screamer.


brando Says:

(Cough) attention seeking drama queen (cough)


Hippy Chick Says:

Shame that some people cant take an apology then in the right spirit,ive apologized to you before,and then you come out with indirect sly digs,we did used to have quite a good raport at one time,i see thats all gone now….


skeezer Says:

“(Cough) attention seeking drama queen (cough)”
Nice description of yourself there Brando!


Steve27 Says:

Comparing Dubai to Buenos Aires? Huge slap in the face to an event that has been consistently recognized as one of the best for years now

Do you like petrodollars?

Because Buenos aires it is the most traditional tournament and importance in Latin America.

But you like the oil, sheiks, respect for human rights, the dignity of workers (see Qatar 2022), human rights, discrimination against women, environmental pollution, etc.

Yes, all is well in the emirates, make this a grand slam, no?


RZ Says:

@Hippy Chick – something to consider is that all the pros have to put up with questions year-round from the sports media, some members of which are the same people who they will see week in and out on the different tour stops. Top players like Novak have to face them even more often since they are in higher demand and have more post-match interviews to give. So perhaps he’s more likely to be polite and give an answer that doesn’t necessarily make a specific point than beg off the question since he knows that he’ll be talking to these guys year-long.


Hippy Chick Says:

RZ fair enough, but i dont really care to say anymore on the matter,only to say my post wasnt directed at Novak personally,enough said….


Hippy Chick Says:

Sienna it takes one to know one….


Markus Says:

Hippy Chick, you’d be so cool if you didn’t apologize too much. I don’t even why know you do it when you are simply expressing your opinion and they are often not bad opinions at all. Most of these guys you are apologizing to are not even worthy.


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus lol well you have actually made my day,and cheered me up now thankyou,OK from now on no more apologies ;)….


Colin Says:

Chris Ford, you say “Djokovic has been fortunate. With his allergies and diet and respiratory issues resolved, he has emerged like Connors, Lendl, and Federer as an Ironman. He has a style of play that does not pound him down.”

If that’s the case, why do so many people excuse his loss to Andy at Wimbledon by saying he was tired after a previous tough match with Delpo. Either he’s an iron man or he isn’t; the facts can’t be changed retrospectively.

If he couldn’t recover sufficiently from playing Delpo at Wimbledon, how come he HAD been able to revover from playing a long semi against Andy in Australia, and then beat Rafa in an even longer final? It appears he’s an iron man – except when he isn’t.

Furthermore, your other “ironman”, Federer, apparently lost his ferrous qualities playing Delpo in the Olympics semi!


Ben Pronin Says:

He’s an iron man in terms of his ability to stay healthy and maintain a consistently high level of play throughout the year over and over again. In fact, he’s always been this way since emerging in 07. No one is called an iron man for being able to recover from a draining match.


Skeezer Says:

I think players from time to time have there fatique going on from long matches. Why wouldn’t they? Sometimes they recover fast and sometimes they don’t. Its not a math stat that if this happens that must. Recovery time and care is paramount.
But honestly Colin, who is better Ironmen in Tennis than Fed and now Novak? And note they are not beefy guys, but lean and flexible. Muscle mass goes only so far in Tennis, and history has proven it.


Ben Pronin Says:

Ferrer’s a pretty good iron man. Davydenko before him. They play almost every week. Consistently go deep in events. They’re not at Federer’s or Djokovic’s level but it’s similar. Iron man isn’t some kind of elite designation.


Sidney Says:

For Novak fans, nice article at WSJ.com. sorry if this has been posted by someone else…

http://www.wsj.com/articles/tennis-champion-novak-djokovics-power-moves-1424874849


Markus Says:

Did anybody consider the possibility that Djokovic lost to Murray in that Wimbledon final for the very simple reason that Murray played better that day?


Sidney Says:

Oops. Just saw Jane’s earlier post. Sorry guys.


chris ford1 Says:

Thanks for posting that article, Sidney. I hadn’t seen it and it is quite good.
As a fan of Noles, my 3 takeaways:

1. His opinion that his legs have years and years of tennis left in them…I think that also because if you see him in person, he glides, and his legs have maybe 5 years left at the very top level for him in speed and stamina. And he hasn’t challenged his shoulder and lower back trying to be a very hard server when he can be a serious threat to win championships. So he may tap that in later years and try to bring his serve up to a Federer level.

2. No article should be written about the guy without some goofy new thing he is trying.

“He is obsessed with “superfoods,” like maca root (a Peruvian relative of radish often used to boost fertility in livestock….”

3. Like Nadal and Fed, here will probably be some luxurious abodes for himself and his family in the near future, but for now an inland 2 bedroom apartment with Med Sea views in Monaco will do just fine. Adorable picture of him looking out towards the Sea with two little tiny feet poling out from his right side.
He does have some luxuries besides housing. But he seems to be in a place where winning tennis, getting endorsements, helping raise a family, time with parents and friends, and doing work for his own charity matter more than buying Big Toys.
My takeaway is he seems to be maturing into a fine man. Successful, grounded. In a great time in his life. Maybe the best so far.


jane Says:

i’m not saying nole lost the wimbledon final due to fatigue from the delpo match colin; however, it *was* the longest semifinal in wimbledon history so surely it took something out of him. delpo’s forehand, when it’s firing, is like a hammer of the gods. eek!


Markus Says:

We all look for ways to assuage the pain. Human nature. Understandable.


Hippy Chick Says:

Rafa and Andy seem more muscular than Novak and Roger who seem leaner and more flexible,Andy and Rafa have suffered injuries which might be to do with their specific body type,Novak changed his diet which seemed to help with his breathing and seemed to lose loads of weight,and after that has been virtually unbeatable since 2011,however all seem to recover quite well from one match to the next,i just think they are all supreme athletes better than the rest,and thats the reason they have been at the top of the game so long,my opinion assuming im still allowed one?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Didnt Andy have a relativly long match against against JJ in the semis at W in 2013,OK not as long as the one between Novak/Delpo but still,he also played a five setter against Verdasco?didnt Novak sail through apart from against Delpo?….


Nirmal Kumar Says:

didnt Novak sail through apart from against Delpo?….

HC, you are right. Infact I watched the match. It was a terrific quality match. But to say it has taken a lot with a day break is ridiculous.


Michael Says:

The two players who have expressive capabilities today are Roger and Novak. Both know how to put things straight in plain language, conscisely and in a polished decent way. Novak is indeed right about Rafa who is such a phenomenal player who can never be written off and he is capable of coming back from any disadvantageous position. He is a fierce competitor and one heck of a player who never gives up, highly tenacious in mind and aggressive in approach.

But all said and done, I think this is the year Novak is going to realize his dream of winning Roland Garros with Rafa not in such good shape and lacking confidence. He is doubting the state of his game today and that is manifested in getting ousted by even low key players. This might prove to the detriment of Rafa but still it is not certain and things can drastically change and Rafa can spring a surprise once again with an emphatic display at the Master series tournaments before Rolland Garros.


sienna Says:

WTF does he mean with his comments about Rafa?
He should get his act gether and stop messing with Rafas head because he will get toasted com finals day in RG 2015.


Hippy Chick Says:

Michael i know your yearning for Novak to win the FO,but much can happen between now and then,just supposing Rafa has a turnaround,and bearing in mind hes only played one clay tournament so far,and Novaks so far has only played HCs,so how do we know how he will fair on clay,Rafas facing the LOA,decline or whatever,and people say he wont win the title forever which is true, but just because of that it doesnt necassarily mean Novaks a shoo,hes not invincible shock,horror hes also beatable too?….


Felipe Says:

Djokovic since 2008 has not fallen from number 3 in the world..considering that the competition included Federer, Nadal, Murray, Del Potro, Soderling, Ferrer, Berdych, etc….i think its a huge accomplishment…in other words, the guy can play top tennis in every surface from january to november year in and year out. A sample…5 Aus open tiles (January) and 4 WTF (November), 2008, 2012 and 2013 winning both the same year. His focus and determination to stay as the top dog is huge, reason why its 95% sure that he will be number 1 for the whole calendar year.


Josh Says:

@Skeezer I agree, if Nadal could lose 20 pounds of mass, he would win at least another 2-3 slams.


Emily Says:

@Josh, I don’t much about body mass, but how would Rafa lose that much muscle? Doesn’t natural body type have something to do w/ why he’s more muscular then Roger and Novak?


Hippy Chick Says:

Josh hi,but Nadal has 64 titles 14 been GS,so surely he must be doing something right,he might just have a slower metabolism than Novak/Roger i just dont get this fixation people have with Rafa having the wrong body type,especially with all the success hes had,what more does he have to prove,how much more successfull does he have to actually be?….


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal is listed as 6’1, 188lbs. He doesn’t need to lose 20 pounds.

You know how they say the camera adds 10 pounds? Nadal is a lot more lean in person than he appears on TV. He’s very cut but he’s really not that bulky. He’s just a little bigger than most of his opponents. Especially when compared to Novak who may appear normal on TV but is actually a walking skeleton.


Emily Says:

@Ben, didn’t know those stats about Nadal. That seems like the right weight for his height and I think the muscular arms may be misleading. I always thought that people just don’t expect such a successful tennis player to look like that, as opposed to someone like Novak or Roger.
I think poor Richard is having flashbacks to the Davis Cup match against Roger. He’ll really have to step up if he wants to win, but it’s not looking good.


Okiegal Says:

@Ben…..I have always wondered how the players look in person, because of the 10 lb the camera adds. I suppose Wa Wa isn’t nearly as heavy as he looks. Berdy’s legs look like tree trunks, according to the commentators. But don’t understand the big deal about body type either, as Chick stated, Rafa has been very successful with his and the others mentioned here are top ten players. You said Novak looked like a skeleton, what about Fed…..he’s very lean too?? Oh how I would love to see all of these guys in person, maybe some day…..I’m extremely jealous, BTW….. LOL. :)


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m 99% sure I’ve never seen Wawrinka live. I feel like I would remember if I had.

Federer’s actually a little bulkier than he appears. Maybe not bulkier, but bigger. He’s not a stick, not like Novak.

Berdych’s legs are tree trunks. Quadzilla.


Emily Says:

I’ve seen Wawrinka many times up close (when he was still on the outer courts at the UO). In person, he does look different from the other players b/c he has broad shoulders and a more stocky build. I saw him and Novak play each other in Armstrong and there is a marked difference b/w the two.
He was definitely more imposing on the court this year compared to when I saw him in 2012. I think he’s worked on his core mostly b/c his serve has improved and he rips his shots so much more than he did a few years ago.


sienna Says:

I have seen wawrinka 2 weeks ago. he is broad smouldered but also a little to heavy on the waist and tummy area. Not fat but he could easily lose 5 to 10 pounds


Okiegal Says:

@Ben, very surprised that Fed doesn’t look a stick too……He looks so skinny to me……

Rafa was questioned about his weight the other day. The reporter told him he looked like he’d lost weight. Rafa said that he hadn’t……”I don’t wear sleeveless anymore” meaning his big arm muscles weren’t showing. LOL…..but he hasn’t worn sleeveless in forever. I’m ready for sleeveless to come back for him and maybe he wouldn’t jack around with his shoulders and waste precious time, which is causing him severe problems. Rafa are you listening?? :)


Josh Says:

Just to clarify… I was being sarcastic in my last post.

Top story: Federer, Djokovic Lead Heavily Favored European Team Laver Cup This Weekend