‘I Warned Him’ – Novak Djokovic’s Coach Goran Ivanišević Blames Djokovic’s Body Language for His Loss to Rafael Nadal at the 2022 French Open

Published 06/05/2022, 12:42 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 1, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Four days ago, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal played the most highly anticipated match of the 2022 French Open. Clashing in the quarterfinals, the two went neck and neck for a place in the semifinal. While a major part of the tennis world expected a win for Djokovic, it was Nadal who outplayed the Serbian in four sets.

Djokovic’s loss invited several speculations about the reason for his loss. While tennis experts and fans gave their views, by far the most scathing one has been that of the World No’s 1 coach, Goran Ivanišević. The former Croatian player and Wimbledon champion asserted it was Djokovic’s body language that stole the win from his hands.

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Did the body language of Djokovic affect the outcome?

Goran Ivanišević has been a part of Djokovic’s team since 2019. The 50-year-old was previously coaching Djokovic with Marian Vajda. However, following the split between Djokovic and Vajda in 2021, Goran has taken sole charge as the Serbian’s coach.

While Djokovic is out of the tournament, Goran is still competing in the Men’s Legends Over 45 event at the 2022 French Open. While preparing for his match, Goran recently spoke about Djokovic’s quarterfinal loss. He started by saying, “I have to be brutally honest to begin with – I am in a funk and I can’t sleep.” “I cannot say that I am disappointed, but I am sad. It was not a perfect match from either side,” he further added.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 1, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarter final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Nadal-Djokovic vying for the major honors is something tennis fans have become accustomed to in the past decade. However, at Roland Garros 2022, the result went against the Serb as he failed to settle into a rhythm against his great rival. As mentioned earlier, Goran called out body language as the deciding factor of the match.

He said, “Rafa did not play a spectacular match, but the body language decided, from the first point until the last: Rafa’s body language and Novak’s body language.”

Goran Ivanišević elaborates on the body language of Novak Djokovic

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The first set of the clash of the titans started with Nadal taking the lead. However, Djokovic immediately hit back and took the second set. While the match started gaining momentum, it was Djokovic’s body language in the third set that took the match away from his hands, according to Goran.

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Elaborating on how the match unfolded, Goran asserted, “I warned him, I even told you guys (journalists) that the start of the match could be decisive, but again, a bad start… And then, after the turnaround in the second set, it is incomprehensible the way he played the third set. It was like he lacked energy and like he did not believe sufficiently that he could win. You cannot allow that to yourself against Rafa, because this is his tournament.”

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 1, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal shakes hands with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after winning their quarter final match REUTERS/Yves Herman

Djokovic lost the match in four sets to an imperious Nadal display, and he lost the chance to defend his French Open title. After outplaying Djokovic in the quarterfinals, the ‘King of Clay’ further beat Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. Eyeing an unprecedented 14th French Open title, Nadal will face Casper Ruud in the finals today.

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Ahmar Wasif

790 articles

Ahmar Wasif is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is a national level tennis player and has a number of titles to his name. His experience on the court allows him to incorporate a deeper understanding in his coverage of the sport.

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