Rafael Nadal: This Year I’m Not Having Much Luck Against Novak Djokovic [Video]

by Staff | September 11th, 2011, 12:38 am

Calling it his best match of the tournament, Rafael Nadal ousted Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to advance to the US Open final for a second straight year. Nadal is now just three sets from a first non-clay title defense, and on Monday he’ll face Novak Djokovic in a repeat of the 2010 championship.

Nadal dropped the first set of the tournament to Murray, but the Spaniard was firing from the get-go, bullying the Scot around the court with powerful groundstrokes and crisp winners.

“I had a few tough moments this summer, and I think every day I wake up with big motivation,” Nadal said. “I am playing very good level, I think every day better, and today I played my best match against a most difficult opponent.”

Nadal improves to 13-4 career against Murray including semifinal wins in the last three Majors. But Rafa knows Djokovic will be a different story.

“This year I lost last five matches against him, five finals,” Nadal said. “This will be the sixth. That’s an advantage for him. He’s obviously the favorite for the final, and I know I have to do something better than the other matches to try to change the situation.”

Despite the five losses this year, Nadal still leads Djokovic 16-12 in their head-to-head.

“I have my game, and I beat him in the past playing my game,” Nadal said. “The thing is play my game very well and be enough strong mentally all the time, fight every ball, believe in the victory in every moment. That’s something that for moments this year I didn’t.

“But just play aggressive, try to play a similar match than last year here. I saw that match a lot of times and I know what I have to do, but I don’t know if I gonna be able to do it. So that’s always the same.”

Nadal added then mentally he’s hasn’t quite been there against Djokovic.

“I am not very happy about my mental performance against him this year,” he said. “That’s true, no? Because for moments I didn’t believe really 100% with the victory. That’s big problem. Because when that’s happening, you have your chances less, much less than if you believe. Because if you believe, you are running more, you are putting one more ball inside. So that was problem, and that’s what I gonna try to change for Monday. If I’m not ready to change for Monday, I have a goal to do it for next year. So I am ready to work hard. I am ready to work my tennis, to work my mental part, and hopefully I will ready for Monday.”

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39 Comments for Rafael Nadal: This Year I’m Not Having Much Luck Against Novak Djokovic [Video]

Kimberly Says:

Time to turn this around rafa!

margot Says:

Congratulations to Rafa and all his many fans. As usual when it matters, Rafa raises his game and delivers. Looking forward to Monday.
Thought Andy was pretty poor actually, looked sluggish, awful body language same old same old. He had his chances but couldn’t convert and his serve stats were awful.
Ike: don’t quit the day job quite yet ;)

Eric Says:

First title defense off clay?


jane Says:

Have been away all day but just wanted to say congrats to Rafa and better luck next time to Muzza. Plus fans of both. Maybe down-under it will happen for Andy: two finals already, so third time’s a charm? (commiserations margot). I have both semifinal matches taped, hopefully to watch before Monday’s final.

Dory Says:

Nice to Rafa to acknowledge openly his issues with Novak. So brutally honest.

Marijane Says:

Rafa’s winning so far just because the opponents had many weakness. They made so many UEs. And when Rafa play Novak on Monday, it will be very different opponent. Novak has no weakness at all. When he played Nadal, he always found ideas to stop and neutralize Nadal. So, the game is over when Nadal play Novak. It is very clear, Novak will beat Nadal on Monday. I am sure 200 %.

alison hodge Says:

@marijane rafas only responsible for what hes doing not what his oponents are doing,however it will be interesting to see what rafa can come up with against nole,in the final on monday,i just hope for an open and exciting final,whatever the outcome.

mortimer Says:

Please beat Djokovic, no?

Kimberly Says:

do it Rafa! I just love this player.

alison hodge Says:

kimberly yeah it would be great to see rafa defend a non clay title,and for people to stop calling him a clay court player,which im sure he must get fed up of hearing,even though hes actually completed a career grand slam,still i have to say im not optomistic about his chances against nole,however think positive is all you can do.

alison hodge Says:

it was nice to hear rafa paying tribute to the victims of 9 11,showing us that some things are more important than tennis,more important than loosing a match,a true gentleman.

marrisv Says:

Go Rafa. Looking forward to a hard fought match.

tennisfansince76 Says:

i was actually moved by rafa’s statements concerning 9/11. it made me reconsider my feelings toward hime. i now hope he wins a set on Monday ;]

Teresa Says:

Nadal said “I was unlucky against Djokovic”. He can not say the true: “Djokovic is much better player than me”. That is the only true, lucky is not part of the problem, and Nadal always is looking for false explanations for his bad playing.

Nadal will lose again on monday….if every thing is normal. I believe that he will make another theater scene when the match be hard for him, as always he do. He can pretend an injurie and lies about that, as always he does.

I hope the judge wont let him to do it again. If he can not make another theater scene, of course Djokovic will won, in three sets.

alison hodge Says:

@teresa rafa has said on many occasions,that nole is the best player this year,and that he has to do something differently, as his game does not bother nole anymore,i dont see what else he is supposed to say.

Anna Says:

Rafa has been simply great about acknowledging Nole’s dominance this year. I think he was hoping to keep the number one ranking for a while, but it wasn’t to be. Nole has waited a long time to rise to the top and he’s certainly deserving, but there are alot of variables involved in reaching the top and staying at the top, in other words dominance can change at the flip of a coin. Dominance isn’t a forever thing, or even necessarily a tomorrow thing. So enjoy Nole’s good roll while it lasts.

Anna Says:

I forgot…. vamos Rafa!!!!

alison hodge Says:

yeah well said anna.

Brando Says:

Spot on anna. Nole is the fav 2moro and most likely shall win. If so I’ll be pleased for him since it’s well earnt – although I really do feel for roger to lose 2 years in a row in that fashion. What I hope for more than anything else is that rafa plays without any inhibtion, fear of opponent- just plays a confident game. If rafa can do that then he shall be better for it.

Nina Says:

Yeah, what a great gentleman Rafa is, acknowledging Nole’s domination of him this year in a brutal honest way. Sadly i can’t say the same about Roger, his presser was as classless as i’ve ever seen them. Disappointed in him.

alison hodge Says:

@brando yeah i think you have to be realistic,if or when nole takes the title i think he fully deserves it,and its not as if rafa has anything left to proove anyway,its all gravy now,i just hope like you say that rafa gives his all,and doesnt give up the title without putting up a damn good fight 1st.

jane Says:

Kudos, also, to Rafa for noting the 10 year mark since 9/11 .

Brando Says:

@ Alison: hi there alison. Like you said I too just want to see rafa fight and compete well against nole. If you look at his 5 losses to nole this year in IW and Miami, the better player won but rafa competed well and had his chances.One felt that one day he shall come through and capitalise on them just that it wasn’t to be at that moment in time. As rafa says it more important to compete than to win since if you compete well and don’t win there is always the chance that you shall one day. So fight hard and VAMOS RAFA!

alison hodge Says:

brando yeah thats a good way of looking at it,even rafa himself has said i have to be patient and wait for my oppotunities,eventually the tide will turn in his favour,ok might not be tomorrow,but rafa been rafa will always fight till he suceeds.

scoreboard66 Says:

@Nina, you keep denigrating other players, but are so upset when others criticize Novak. Dunno why Roger is being dubbed as classless for speaking the truth. He’s calling it like it is. His description of players slapping the ball is the reason I don’t like Djokovic’s tennis at all. I don’t see Novak as being classy, especially when he was holding up his arms for the crowd appreciation on one match point he saved, and when he hit a tweener a few days ago, putting his hand to his ears eliciting an applause, albeit it was an ugly shot and nothing like Roger’s tweeners.

It appears that Novak’s mode of returning is to just stick his racket out, and slap the ball back, hoping that it lands somewhere out of the opponent’s reach, and he then uses his speeed to scramble back to position himself to receive the return. If anyone who’s honest and enjoys the gracefulness of tennis, they’ll admit that there’s nothing graceful in Novak’s return, and it’s not fun to watch him scramble around the court, looking lopsided and contorted. The players who are delightful to watch, e.g., Federer, Safin, Gasquet, Sampras, Borg, don’t return in that manner. They return with a clear strategy in mind, but never slapping the ball back as hard as they possibly can. I suppose Novak’s way of returning serve, hence being called the best returner, is beautiful to his fans, but I’m sorry to say it does nothing for me in the way of tennis enjoyment.

scoreboard66 Says:

Hopefully Rafa is not too exhausted, coz he’s been he one who’s played with less down time, and that match against Mujrray was very tiring because of the manner in which Murray plays. It’s strange that Novak was complaining about the finals being changed to Monday, but last year when it benefitted him, there were no complaints. How is it that no one has mentioned that classless remark?

Nina Says:

Tell me when did I ever denigrate other players? you just invented that. I can state my opinion, respect it like I respect yours.

johhny Says:

“Hopefully Rafa is not too exhausted, coz he’s been he one who’s played with less down time, and that match against Mujrray was very tiring because of the manner in which Murray plays. It’s strange that Novak was complaining about the finals being changed to Monday, but last year when it benefitted him, there were no complaints. How is it that no one has mentioned that classless remark?”

novak has always supported play on monday. don’t spread false info b/c you lose credibility, thanks!

Swiss Maestro Says:

Johnny go check novak’s press conference after his qf. he was whining about the final being staged on monday.

Swiss Maestro Says:

Nina :

You called federer arrogant on the other blog. WTF you talking about not denigrating players and being disrespectful towards them?

Kimberly Says:

novak was not happy about play on monday because he has to play davis cup friday he said. Like Federer, he thinks the first round should not be played over three days and there would be no need for a Monday final and no disadvantage at Davis Cup. Nadal happy for the day of rest but also concerned about Davis Cup he said.

scoreboard66 Says:

@johnny, I didn’t make up anything. Novak was whining a lot about the finals being delayed, and he mentioned that it was the same last year for him because of Davis Cup.

To be honest, I was surprised he was complaining because he benefitted from it at the time, even though some of his fans feel that the rain is what lost him last year’s USO. At the time the deciion was made, Novak said he was happy that the USO was so thoughtful. Now that he’s had so much down time this year, and Rafa’s half is at a disadvantage, Novak’s whining about the delayed finals. In other words, Novak has a short memory when it suits him.

Michael Says:

The reason Djokstrap complained about a Monday final is because he lost last yr in Monday’s final and is afraid the same thing will happen this yr in Monday’s final. He is right of course!!! He is going to lose today. VAMOS RAFAAAA!!!!!!!

tennis coach Says:

Novak will blow Rafa of the court today as he always does.

tennis coach Says:

Scoreboard/VON, if you bored watching Novak, you are better of to go away and watch golf for the next 4-5 years as Novak will be dominating mens tennis. Let’s be honest, everybody are sick and tired reading your boring posts full of crap!!!

Michael Says:

No tennis coach the EGGY Djokstrap will not b dominating for 4 – 5 years – just 2011. He will break his limbs trying to defend all his points next year – impossible task!!!

Skeezerweezer Says:

Rafael Nadal: This Year I’m Not Having Much Luck Against Novak Djokovic .

You don’t need luck Rafa, no worries. What you need is to play like you did in the 3rd set, and get some heat back in your serves, and you’ll feel much better. ;)

Michael Says:

Somebody should really investigate Djoker’s new found fitness. He doesn’t get out of breath, the heat also doesn’t seem to affect him. Suddenly he has become SUPERMAN. How come? What is going? Big big question-mark. Please please somebody investigate!

carlo Says:


And as far as I can see at least Nadal finally has someone as “unbelievable” as himself. It’s a relief that the playing field has finally been leveled.

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