Novak Djokovic thinks that the unusual circumstances at Roland Garros make him more likely in the final against Rafael Nadal. The numbers one and two in the world will meet each other on Sunday in the final battle of the clay tournament.
34-year-old Nadal is chasing in Paris for his thirteenth Roland Garros title. The Spaniard, who dealt with Diego Schwartzman in three sets in the semi-finals on Friday, won all his previous twelve finals and is the big favorite, but Djokovic sees opportunities.
“Normally Roland Garros is in May or June and then the circumstances are very different”, the 33-year-old Serbian referred to the weather and the condition of the tracks on Friday after his semi-final match against Stéfanos Tsitsipás (a five-setter).
“I think this is in my favor. For example, the ball does not bounce as high over the shoulder as normal now. But regardless of the circumstances, he is still ‘Rafa’, he is back in the final and we still play on clay. “
Nadal was too strong for Djokovic in the Roland Garros final in 2012 and 2014, but the nineteen-time Grand Slam winner attaches little value to that. “That doesn’t count anymore on Sunday. It’s different circumstances, it’s a different tournament and it’s a completely different situation.”
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have already met seven times at Roland Garros. (Photo: ANP)
56th meeting between Djokovic and Nadal
Djokovic and Nadal will meet for the 56th time on Sunday. The Serbian leads in the mutual duels 29-26, but Nadal won six of the previous seven meetings at Roland Garros. Djokovic was the last boss of the Spaniard on clay in 2016 in Rome.
“I’m looking forward to another great fight with Nadal,” said Djokovic. “I won this Grand Slam tournament the least often, so of course I am very motivated to win here. A Grand Slam final is always great, but I don’t think this is the biggest match I will ever play.”
Nadal, who has not yet lost a set this tournament, is also preparing for a tough battle. “Djokovic is one of the toughest possible opponents imaginable. I played well against Schwartzman, but on Sunday that will not be enough. I will have to improve myself again.”
Nadal is one win away from equaling the record number of Grand Slam titles of Roger Federer (twenty), who did not participate in Roland Garros. Djokovic is number three in the rankings with seventeen titles.