Rafael Nadal: Novak Djokovic is Probably the Favorite Tomorrow [Video]
by Tom Gainey | May 7th, 2011, 6:27 pm

When was the last time that Rafael Nadal was not the favorite on a clay court? The always humble Nadal says that tomorrow in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open that his opponent, Novak Djokovic, is probably the favorite.

The undefeated Djokovic beat Nadal twice already this year in two stirring three set Masters finals at Indian Wells and Miami.

But this encounter shifts to clay and it’s in Nadal’s home country of Spain. However, Nadal again cautions that the altitude is an issue and that Djokovic is playing better tennis than he is.

“It’s great for the crowds, it’s great for the tournament, and for us in the end because every time it’s a big challenge and we both look forward to it,” said Djokovic. “We are competing a lot in the last couple of months and we’ve had some really good matches, especially the ones in the United States recently. Of course the memories come back from Madrid 2009, when we played that very, very long match. It’s going to be great for the people to see us play.

“Of course I am motivated to win against anybody, especially against Rafa because it’s the ultimate challenge on clay courts,” added the Serb. “You want to step in and give your best and you want to try to win. He’s an incredible player, an incredible competitor and he’s been winning on clay courts so much over the past couple of years. I know that but I need to believe I need to step on to the court and try to win.”

After beating Federer, Nadal has won 37 straight matches on clay. Djokovic, who prevailed over Thomaz Bellucci has a streak of 32 straight.

Talking about his match today, Nadal said he played more “inside” the court and more agressive in the second and third sets and that made a big difference in his comeback win over rival Roger Federer.

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17 Comments for Rafael Nadal: Novak Djokovic is Probably the Favorite Tomorrow [Video]

jane Says:

Nadal is the favorite on clay against anyone! I hope Nole can get his first clay win over Rafa but, to borrow from the man himself, “it will be very difficult match, no?” ;)

Wade Says:

Good match between Rafa and Rog Until the Fed just goes away in the match to some unKnown foreign land.. Here’s looking forward to the Rafa n Djokovic Showdown.

GO RAFA the RAGING BULL!!!!!!!!!

FloridaTao Says:

Nadal should win in 2 or 3 sets. Djokovic is playing well but not well enough to beat the greatest claycourt player in history on clay.

skeezerweezer Says:

Isn’t the altitude a issue for everyone? Why only Rafa? And Clay he is King no? Don’t get the pre-excuse….but only reading the text not watching the vid…no audio at the moment

puckbandit Says:


The altitude is an issue for everyone regarding their fitness for the thin air. But it also speeds up the play overall and that should work to “tame” some of Nadal’s heavy shots and therefore act as an equalizer – so to speak. I personally don’t think it has enough effect to actually “equalize” – but if add a very dry, quick court to the altitude and then we could see an impact. I’m not sure what the conditions are projected to be tomorrow. Looked heavy today.

funches Says:

Djokovic should win this match.

Nadal has been much less dominant in Madrid than anywhere else on clay, and he’s never played anyone as hot as the Djoker. It will be close, but this is the only match Rafa is likely to lose on clay this year.

Kimberly Says:

Skeezee, rafa has been complaining about the altitude being less favorable for him since 2009.

billyboy512 Says:

Madrid final between these 2 in 2009 is still being talked about as one of the best matches ever, overshadowing any play Roland Garros since then. Who woulda thought? It was a four-hour 3 set match! Still hard to believe. There is much to live up to tomorrow.

Kimmi Says:

nole is a favorite.
no, rafa is.
no, no nole must be the favorite!
are you serious it is rafa..

and on and on it goes..ha-ha

contador Says:

ah phooey. this one is up for grabs.

contador Says:

and that’s why i want to watch it!

Eddie Says:

Rafa is without a doubt the best clay court player ever. This particular court is playing very fast which may neutralize his advantage. I think the match will be close, but feel that Nadal’s two Finals wins on clay already will give him the extra mental edge he needs to win this match. I think the match goes 6-4, 6-3 to Rafa. VAMOS!

Kimmi Says:

when was the last time rafa lost on clay? How many time has nole played rafa on clay? i think 12 times (correct me if i am wrong) ..out of that 12 times, how many times has he beaten him? ZERO.

So, who is the favorite?

so glad it is not another ferrer/rafa final. hope nole can give us a better one.

Go get him. go get your first rafa clay win….

SerbJoker Says:


Roger keeps crying about the slowness of the court everywhere he goes. Or is it only when he plays the courts are slower ?
Dont you think he is the GOAT.

brian Says:

I am a hardcore Nole’s fan and i want him to win this badly…but judging from his match yesterday against Belucci…he will have 10 % chance of winning..well maybe if he steps up his game.

My heart says its Nadal’s to loose

jamie Says:

Nadal wins 6-4 6-4

Nina Says:

Be it sincere or not, which I believe he is, Rafa is such a humble and admirable man. Kudos to him. Of course he knew he was not the favorite and that Djoker could win and Nole did.

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