Rafa Roundup: “Nadal is called the ‘King of Clay’ and he deserves that crown,” says Djokovic

Ignacio Gil/ABC.es
Ignacio Gil/ABC.es


Nadal’s most productive month is April, with 15 of his 65 career titles followed by May (12), June (10) and July (7). Last year Nadal’s streak of 83-straight match wins on clay in the month of April ended with a quarter-final loss to countryman David Ferrer in Monte-Carlo.

Players will tell you there’s no difference between being seeded No. 1 or No. 2 (the draw is the same for both), but there is a difference being seeded in the top 4 versus outside the top 4. The question is whether Nadal can get his ranking inside the top 4 for the French Open so he avoids a possible quarterfinal against his chief rival on clay, Novak Djokovic.

”Whenever the clay court season comes around, he is the first player to be mentioned as the favorite in any tournament,” said Djokovic. ”He is called the `King of Clay’ and he deserves that crown. He has lost only one match in Roland Garros, and he is an ultimate challenge. Even though he has struggled with injuries and lack of matches, it’s Nadal and this is his surface.”

Roland Garros está al final de esta gira. Por las circunstancias y por la posibilidad de ganar el décimo, ¿es más especial este año? RAFA: Cada año es lo mismo. Cada año se busca un motivo para que sea más especial. Para mí, el único motivo es el acicate de ganar Roland Garros. Cuando conseguí el sexto y empaté con Borg no era más especial, ni cuando con el séptimo le superé o cuando con el octavo fui el primero en ganar tantos títulos en el mismo Grand Slam.

Since he’s won the French Open, he’s only lost one match on clay. Okay, he’s only played two tournaments, but in Rafa’s mind if he starts off well then that would give him a bit of confidence. But more importantly if he gets through to the quarter-finals, semi-finals, everyone else will be thinking: ‘Rafa is back to his best on the clay.’ This is where he’s going to get his best form back.

“Este torneo marca el inicio de mi parte favorita de la temporada. Sé que tengo que jugar mejor de lo que lo he hecho hasta ahora. Estoy trabajando para jugar bien otra vez tan pronto como sea posible. Si no creyese en mis posibilidades, no estaría aquí, estaría haciendo otras cosas porque ya he conseguido todo lo que necesitaba hacer en mi carrera. Aún tengo la pasión y la motivación para seguir jugando a tenis”, ha dicho el ex nº 1 mundial en Montecarlo.

Rafael Nadal on the front cover of ABC

Nadal’s speed and defense may have been the difference. “Despite being an efficient and balanced mover,” Mayotte says, “Agassi was not a fast one. Nadal’s angles would drive Andre off the court.” Still, while Nadal would be favored on clay, Agassi was every bit his match on his own natural surface, hard courts. A final tug of war on grass would have been a sight for tennis fans to see.




Leave a Reply