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’