Novak Djokovic: “You know, I know how to play Rafael Nadal”

Photo via Eurosport
Photo via Eurosport

Q. When you’re on the court facing Rafa Nadal, how would you describe the mental and physical challenges?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: When I’m playing Nadal, you said? Well, it’s always the biggest challenge that you can have in our sport now. I mean, he’s the ultimate competitor out there. He’s fighting for every ball and he’s playing probably the best tennis that he ever played on hard courts. He hasn’t lost a match on hard court this year, and we all knew that over the course of last six, seven, eight years, hard court hasn’t been his favorite surface. He has got injuries, many injuries on this surface, but now he looks fit. He had seven months off. He lost three matches this year. With no doubt he’s the best player in the moment this year, no question about it. So the way he’s been playing he’s very confident, but, you know, I know how to play him. Hard court is the surface that, as I said, is my most successful surface. I have played him already here twice in the finals. I know what I need to do. Now it’s of course easier to sit here and say, I know what I need to do, but I’ve got to do it on the court. As I said, I have two days and he has to win his match, of course. We’ll see, you know. Whoever I play against, I’ll be ready to give everything I have for the trophy.

Q. What does this battle for ranking of No. 1 mean to you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s important to me, of course. I have been finishing the years No. 1 last two seasons, and I know how much consistency and hard work and energy put into all this 10, 11 months of a season you need to deliver in order to be No. 1 of the world. So Rafa is I think in a better position right now for that ranking and for this position, but I’m still keeping that position going. I’m fighting for it. I mean, you know, I need to play well and I need to win tournaments in order to finish No. 1. I’m aware of that. But, you know, this is not the first time that I have something like this in front of me.

Source: usopen.org

12 comments

  1. None of us knows which one of these two excellent tennis players is going to win tomorrow night. What we do know is that Rafa is always strategizing , figuring out the way to “break” his opponent. He also plays every point as if were his last. Novak may think he “knows how to play him” but since Rafa is constantly deveoping and changing his tactics , don’t count on knowing the Nadal that appears on court Monday night. May we all lenjoy a night of tennis as great as the Wawrinka (sp?) – Djokovitch semi- final yesterday.

  2. There’s no love lost between these two…I’ll bet there’s a hint of mind games from Nole, after all, he knows Rafa is going to hear these words. Even that picture doesn’t show a lot of affection. Yes, there is a grudging respect between the two, but nothing more (even Andy Murray pointed that out). Contrast this to the way Rafa and Roger talk about facing each other…you have never heard Rafa saying “I know how to play Roger”….and by the word ‘play’, Novak means ‘beat’..it’s a touch arrogant if you ask me, especially since he LOST their last match-up. He needs to realise that his one-sided dominance is over…and anyway, in the whole head-to-head series between the two, he trails Nadal.

    • Not a ‘touch’ as you so nicely put it… the Djoker is arrogant.. but then look at who he has for a dad.. the fruit never falls too far from the tree.

  3. I’d be interested in what the poster of this expected Novak to say… This is a straightforward, honest interview in my opinion. There’s nothing sensational, outrageous or arrogant about what Novak has said here. Of course he knows how to play Rafa; they’ve played often enough. Of course he’ll throw everything he has into beating him just as Rafa will do to beat Novak. World #1 vs world #2, both wanting to win. Here’s hoping it will be a great match.

  4. Well, the way he talked (Novak) bitterness is there…cmon Novak dont be so conceited that u will beat Nadal on the final??? just play n see before u talked much like your father.

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