Novak Djokovic: With This Confidence, Hopefully I Can Challenge Rafa At Roland Garros
by Tom Gainey | November 12th, 2013, 9:31 am

Congrats to Novak Djokovic and his fans. Yesterday, Djokovic trumped Rafael Nadal 63, 64 to win his third career ATP World Tour Finals event. Djokovic now heads into the Davis Cup this week on a 22-match win streak since losing to Rafael Nadal in September at the U.S. Open.

Djokovic will not finish No. 1, but he says the last two months have given him the confidence and motivation for next season.

“Well, next to the run that I had in 2011, this is definitely the second best I’ve had,” Djokovic said Monday. “Just for me, the most positive thing that I can take from this two and a half months is the fact that I managed to regroup after a few big losses after Nadal, especially Roland Garros, US Open final and Wimbledon final.

“As I said, work harder and play better, become an even more skillful player. I think I’ve worked on a few things in my game and serve that has helped me win a lot of matches in last two months. This is definitely the best possible way that I can finish the season, of course, the official ATP season, not including the Davis Cup final that I have in a few days’ time, where of course I hope we can bring another title to our country.

“This can serve as a great platform for 2014 season. I’m extra motivated and inspired to work and get myself, first of all, rested and recovered in the off season, and then work on my game and get ready for Australian Open.”

Djokovic finishes 2013 with a 72-9 record and seven titles. But still missing is the French Open and a return to No. 1, two big goals for 2014 that he says he can achieve after gaining back some leverage on Nadal who beat him in an epic five sets in Paris.

“I would choose to win both next year,” he said referring to the French and the No. 1 ranking. “That’s only thing that I’m doing. I’m looking ahead. What happened happened, and everything happens for a reason. As I said before, those losses that I had against Nadal in the big matches made me understand what I need to do to become a better and stronger player. That’s all that matters now.

“I won over 20 matches in a row. With this particular confidence, I’m getting into the new season that hopefully can be the one for me where I can challenge Rafa on Roland Garros.”

What’s next for Novak? Davis Cup on Friday in Belgrade, then exhibition matches with Rafa before a brief vacation.

“As soon as I play the Davis Cup final, I go for a week of exhibition events in South America, first in Chile with Rafa, then in Buenos Aires, in Argentina, another two matches,” Djokovic siad. “One of them for sure again is with Rafa. We’ll be seeing each other quite often. I see him more than my mom actually.

“After that I’m going to allow myself to have few weeks off. I deserve that time. I’m going to speak with my team, if I’m able to rest myself.”

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44 Comments for Novak Djokovic: With This Confidence, Hopefully I Can Challenge Rafa At Roland Garros

Giles Says:

Hey joker. If you can work harder and play better so can Rafa.
Still with the Roland Garros dream. If Rafa is playing well forget it. That is Rafa’s house. No burglars allowed until he says so.

Patson Says:

You can win it Nole, and you will.

In Nole we trust!

Steve 27 Says:

You can challenge him, yeah, actually you did, but you can not beat him at Roland Garros.

Daniel Says:

A guy lose 7-9 in the fifth set and you guys think he can’t beat him in RG. of course, till he do it you can say what you want. But saying you CAN’T beat him is too much me thinks.
I think we are seeing the same pattern with Nadal challenging Fed in Wimbledon:
2006 he got bageled; 2007 took him to 5 and 2008 we all know what happened.
2011 Fed saved Nadal; 2012 Djoko took Nadal to 4 and was leading the 4th set, outplaying him for patches of the match; 2013 was leading in final set (you rafafans can pretend him to be invencible on RG now but everybody was thinking Djokovic would win at that point of the match with game point to go 5-3 when he was broken). 2014 he can very well beat him. We all know for some time now that Djoko is the one who can handle Nadal on clay like nobody eles did (Fed in Rome 2006 was the most competitive match Nadal had in clay saving MP apart from the Djpoko matches). He already beat Nadal in straight sets in Madrid clay, Rome and Monte Carlo. Next year Nadal will be 28 and it will all depend on the form they reach clay swing and what will develop between their match up in AO, IW and Miami, if we get to see them play in one of these finals. All 3 are slow hard court outdoors where they are pretty much even, where they played the most competive matchs in recent year between them, both 2011 finals in north America and AO 12.
So, if Djoko can beat Nadal again in one of this tourneys and build confidance for clay, who knows.
What is clear is that next year will be their show again. We don’t know how Murray will return and Fed may still have 1 or 2 brilliant matches in him to be delivered in Slam level. But I can’t see Nadal or Djoko losing to anybody but one another or Murray and we are yet to see Grand slam winner Murray x Nadal I can play on HC. a match everybody is eager to see as well.

Giles Says:

Steve 27. We are agreed then, no intruders allowed in Roland Garros. He said the same thing last year.
Vamos Rafa #9

Margot Says:

Congrats Nole. Commissis rafa.

El_Flaco Says:

WTFs leaderboard:

Federer 6
Sampras 5
Lendl 5
Nastase 4
McEnroe 3
Djoko 3

Some multi slam winners who never won the year end final:


Nadal and Murray still has a few more years to win one.

van orten Says:

I believe some fans are too gready and do not understand that if rafa finally is dethroned by one of his biggest rivals in paris.. it d be amazing for tennis and sports and for rafas own legacy. ivincibility is not that sexy in the end. it happened to fed in 2008 and took nothing away from him or his accomplishments. it made him even more popular.. the same will happen with rafa..a lot of people not chearing for him will eventually do happened with schumacher in f1 too.or tiger . invincibility polarises ..losses bad luck or vulnerability sympathizes

it s not only the records of somebody but also the ones he fought for that will be remembered. me for sure will not think about fed ” he won 17 gs he is the goat he was number one for the longest time so he is the best” I will also remember the tough losses the ones that show you of what material you are made of…

the same with djoker.. a lot of his fans may think ” god he could have 8-10 gs titles now and be close with rafa..” but some will believe he has still lots of time to win at least 5 more slams ..who knows. even if not his career is already great..

mat4 Says:

@van orten:

I agree with you: 5 slams is a long shot, 1 slam too. If Novak doesn’t win a slam anymore, I will still be happy with his career. Every new slam is a big plus, with the likes of Federer, Nadal, Murray, Del Potro around.

Hamza Says:

Congrats to all Nole fans for a comprehensive win.

Looking forward to many Rafa-Nole battles in the future.

The advantage is with Nole, for now.

btf Says:

“Djokovic now heads into the Davis Cup this week on a 22-match win streak since losing to Andy Murray in September at the U.S. Open.” He lost to Nadal tho, not Murray

James Says:

I hope we get another Nadal-Djokovic at Roland Garros in 2014.

But…the Oz Open first in January. Djokovic aiming to win the event for the 5th time. Nadal going for the double career grand slam.

pigoonse Says:

@ van orten

I like this what you said in your 1 pm post above: “invincibility is not that sexy in the end.” so true. and, so true that when that aura of invincibility fades away we often love the champion more.

nits Says:

I want rafa to win australian open and novak to win french open

metan Says:

James agree with your post at 8.02pm.

Slice Tennis Says:

Dream on No2e. You have the rights to dream.

Okiegal Says:

Why is it such a big deal that Rafa has never won the world tour finals?? I think it’s a bigger deal that Joker has never won the French Open……just saying.

Michael Says:

With the way he fought in 2012 and came within a whisker to win 2013 should give every hope to Novak that he can challenge Rafa in his own turf. Moreover he also stopped Rafa in his tracks at Montecarlo, an event where he was unbeaten. As an embodiment to certify his greatness, Rafa holds that ridiculous record at Rolland Garros where he is yet to lose to any player other than Soderling in 2009. Losing the very close battle in 2013 would have been a huge disappointment to Novak and that hurt him psychologically and had an adverse effect on his form. But with the passage of time, he has come out of it and now he is looking all set to emulate his incredible 2011 run. For the sake of Novak, let us hope that comes out with flying colours. He definitely deserves it.

Chico Says:

I believe the biggest factor to who will win RG in 2014 will be the scheduling. This year Rafa had the edge (adding to being rafa) by taking that long break in 2012, from which he had enough time to get in gear before RG. Even without Rafa’s kneeproblems, if Novak makes sure he gets through the first half of the year without burning himself out, I would put my money on him. But it is up to him to keep the form/get better, I would not expect Rafa to be any better than this year.

nitesh Says:

what an year it was first we saw continued dominance of nole @ australian open
then nadal’s eternal love with paris
then murray picking up wimbeldon
the unexpectedly nadal takes everything in summer hardcourt season
then again nole showing the world although he’s no. 2 but no less then no.1 & also roger showing some form

Giles Says:
Douglas Perry on 2014

Okiegal Says:

These people who predict the future, crack me up!!

Vamos, Rafael….good luck in 2014……most importantly, STAY HEALTHY!!!

Alexandra Says:

I don’t think Djokovic needs a special dose of confidence to beat Rafa at RG. He is confident by nature. But also Rafa feels very confident at RG. But this year Djokovic did the same thing, telling everyone how much it was his goal, which led him to feel the pressure. Probably he felt pretty good with his win over Rafa at Monte Carlo. So he must have thought his chances were better than Rafa’s. At the moment Djokovic is Rafa’s No.1 challenger for RG. But it’s far away at the moment. I’m sure Djokovic can win RG, will probably win it one day. But Rafa will do everything he can to win it again.
But against popular believe, not every fan constantly counts the slams thinking, Oh no, Player X is getting close. He is stupid.

SG1 Says:

Given that Novak and Rafa play really close matches and pretty much right in their prime, I think that an intangible will decide RG this year. The intangible I’m picking is the weather. If the weather at RG is hot and arid, I can’t see anyone unseating Rafa (unless he’s hurt). However, if the weather is damp and cool, I can easily see a scenario where Novak would get the better of Rafa. Of course other contenders like DelPo could get in the way of things, but I have to agree that right now, these two seemed destined to duke it out all year long in 2014.

hawkeye Says:

Nole has a muuuuuch better chance at beating Rafa at French Open. Unlike fedfan even when fedfan had the big age advantage. 2nd best clay court player of all time pffft.

Nole is better on clay now than fedfan ever was.

Rafa still the significant favourite to win his 9th though.

It’s evolution baby!

Vinod Says:

Hi, i would like to know what s the purpose of slowing down courts ?

1. Is it due to spread eveness on the fields ?
2. to improve tennis ?
3. To boost any particular level of play ?

Please speak in tennis perspective irrespective of anybody’s fan

Slice Tennis Says:

No2e is obviously a better clay courter than Federer. He always had better results against Rafa at FO compared to Fed since 2007. But he was unlucky to always face Rafa in the semis. He was never comprehensively spanked by Rafa like the one fed accomplished in 2008 finals.

James Says:

Slice Tennis, maybe Djokovic is a better clay court player than Federer. Maybe. But unless he wins the French Open, history will put below Federer on clay.

As of today, Roger is the 2nd best clay courter among active players.

Slice Tennis Says:

If winning FO is the only measure of being a better clay courter then I am afraid Nole may stay behind Federer forever. Nole will be 27 next year and his window of opportunity is very short. Rafa will try his best to stop Nole from winning the career slam.

For Rafa having 8 RG or 9 RG or 10 RG doesn’t make a difference. But for Nole’s legacy there is HUGE difference in having 1 RG or 0 RG.

Just imagine if Rafa had stopped Fed from winning the FO in 2009. We wouldn’t be having the GOAT discussions here.

Rumble Says:

17. That’s all that matters guys.

Hardly matters how long Borg was No. 1, or how many consecutive wimbledons he won, etc. etc. All that matters for him is “11” – no of slams won. And that he never won two of the 4 slams (that comes up too).

Sampras. “14”. Never won French. Period.

Right now Nadal is “13”. And has won all 4. But Federer is “17”. And has won all 4.

Djokovic is “6”. Murray is “2”.

That’s all that matters as to how history judges them in the long run.

If and when Nadal reaches 17, he cna stake a claim for being GOAT. At 18, he IS GOAT. At 16, he is NOT. As simple as that.

He’ll be 28 next year. Lets see what he has left. Djoke, Murray, Delpo – All younger by 1 or 2 years.

More interesting question is – does a new guy break through next year?

As for Nole’s legacy – he is “6” right now. Long way to go to catch up to Nadal. Too soon to have that conversation.

Kanshiwa Says:

I don’t think that “how people do against Nadal” on clay court translates to how good on a clay court someone’s game is. For example, Ferrer is a good at clay, he ousted many players better than him on that surface, but when he faces Nadal he gets massacred. Soderling, the only one that beat Nadal at FO, was not much of a clay court player, but he was able to hit through Nadal’s defense with that beasty forehand of his and stop endless moonballing. Nole did it even better in 2011, when he beat Nadal on clay 2 times. He was (is) able to match Nadal physically and play aggressive enough to hit trough him on both of those occasions. Federer, on the other hand, is not much of a clay court player, but he simply was (is) brilliant player, clay court or not. Anyway, Nadal is just a phenomenon on clay, 8 FO and who knows how many more to come.

Giles Says:

E. v. E. n. t. U. A. L. L. Y maybe!

hawkeye Says:

Rumble Says:

If and when Nadal reaches 17, he cna stake a claim for being GOAT. At 18, he IS GOAT. At 16, he is NOT. As simple as that.

Muzza, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Blake, Nole, McEnroe say it is not “as simple as that.”

Accept it. It’s evolution baby.

courbon Says:

courbon Says:
****URGENT NEWS*****

Here is the latest transcript from Edward Snowden ( ex CIA analyst ) source. This is the 4-way ( conference call ) telephone conversation (from Basel, Monaco, Majorca and Scotland ):

Roger: Hi everybody.As we are talking like this first time, I just want to say that this has to be a completely between us.Top secret!OK?

Novak, Rafa, Murray: Yes…

Roger: In our interest is that new generation of players does not progress yet, so we can still have a Big Four show. Trophy’s, money…So, what shall we do to stop progress of young guns? Any suggestion?

Nadal:…hmmm.Well, there is no any good clay court player between those young ones.Right? So, maybe we can push ATP to make a whole season a clay season, so they can not win?

Ha,ha, ha,…laughter from other lines.

Rafa:Wait,wait!I will share clay trophy’s with you guys.I swear God!I ‘ll let Andy win new clay Wibledon and I let you win one RG Novak-I promise.

Novak: Jebi se!

Andy: Come down guys. Rafael, you know I like you a lot but I could not trust you with that. Sorry mate…

Rafael whispers something….puta madra*&%^ )

Novak: Ok.I have a brilliant idea.Why we all not pretend to sack our coaches?And when they become free agent all the young guys would hire them to train them.And that’s where trick is-we would still pay them and they will derail those guys.They will teach them all the stuff that is not useful,like one handed backhand for example..

Roger:Hey!Watch you..

Rafal:O,shut up Roger.Let him finish.

Novak:Basically my point is-they will slow them down for years and we can continue winning.What you think?

Roger: Well, I have to call Paul back but it’s not bad idea…

Rafa: Toni will never agree…

Roger: Be a man for once Rafael!


Andy: I just got Ivan! It’s not fair!

Novak: Guys, guys!! It’s the only way if we want to get more GS.We are getting old.Thats the only way…


Novak: Ok-that’s a deal. I’ll call Vajda and you organize your guys. We will speak again at AO about further progress.

Roger:hm,hm,hm.. (clearing throat sound.. )

Novak: Yes, Roger?

Roger: Well, while we are all here talking honest and in a full secrecy, can I ask you guys to give me a number of your doctors.

Novak:?? Andy:?? Rafa:??

Roger: Come on, you know the doctors that give you “special medicine”.The one that makes you play 6 bloody hours and run like a Duracell rabbit! You know what I’m talking about!! ( Roger is getting upset…)

Rafael: I don’t take anything!

*****everybody laughs*****

Rafael: Ok, ok,,,I’ll give you a number.

Novak: I just do gluten diet, no dope!

******everybody laughs*******

Novak: ok, ok,…picke jedne…I’ll give you number of mine and Troicki’s doctor…

Andy:I know what you thinking all.I know I look a have a bigger bicep’s but it’s just that my mum organize too tight shirt for me and that’s the reason!.Seriously!!!

Novak;Cut the crap ginger boy and give him a number.


Roger: Thanks guys..I feel bit old and in a Switzerland every doctors is so damn honest-I could not get one!!
But, no word to anybody!Right?

Novak: Ok,ok… I have to go and stretch now…see you in January guys…

Rafael:Adios amigos!


**********phones down*********

CONVERSATION archive:23334

November 13th, 2013 at 4:02 pm

pigoonse Says:

The feeling I had watching improved Nadal in 2007 almost win Wimbledon made it clear that the Spaniard was not going to stop until he got it. It is the same with Novak and Roland Garros.

The question might be who will win AO 2014? AO winner is jinxed for FO – even Nadal could not do it in 2009!

Steve 27 Says:

Exactly, it seems the double AO + RG is almost impossible to win it. Since AO is on hardcourt the only ones to win this double are Wilander in 1988 and Jim Corier in 1992, almost 22 years. Since then, all great players have failed.

I Love Tennis Says:


Brilliant …. so funny, :-)

courbon Says:

@ I love tennis: I’m glad you like it.

SG1 Says:

Courbon…somewhere… Edward Snowden is smiling…well done!

pigoonse Says:

Agree with @Kanshiwa, Nov. 13, 4:39 pm.

Soderling was able to hit through Nadal and had the mindset to take advantage of an opportunity. Definitely would consider Ferrer better than Soderling on clay, but matched to Rafa, Ferrer is even more psychologically hopeless than Federer on the clay. At least Federer has a couple of clay wins over Nadal. It’s very clear though that Djokovic 2011 was able to beat Nadal 2011 on any surface. Ironic that Djoko lost to RF that year at RG.

No one in this era compares on clay to Nadal however. Djokovic, if playing with 2011 confidence, can get to the final against Nadal or anyone, and he can win it. But I can’t imagine anyone else beating Nadal at FO. Of course no one predicted Soderling would be a surprise assassin in 2009.

pigoonse Says:

Roger Federer is the King of the True Slippery Blue Clay in Madrid! All other contenders except Berdych fell away faint in fear of the blue stuff.

Giles Says:

Rafa’s loss to Soderling in 2009 was circumstantial. So, why didn’t Soderling beat Rafa the following year in Roland Garros? “Soderling was able to hit through Nadal .. ..” Rafa thrashed him in straight sets. Soderling’s game fell apart? Or what?

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

I dont think Rafa losing to Soda in 2009 was circumstantial,i just think that Soda was the better player and played awesome tennis that day,however Rafa played awesome the very next year to retain the title against that very same player,and has won it 4 times since,so no big deal,whether or not he will win it again next year remains to be seen?but hes nothing left to prove there anymore come what may.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Pigoonse @November 13th 5.39pm,not really of any relavance untill/unless it actually happens though.

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