“Like That, You Have No Chance”: Novak Djokovic Gets Honest About Beating Rafael Nadal on Clay

Published 06/01/2021, 7:44 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal shakes hands with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after winning the final REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


World No.1 Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal recently met for the 57th time in the final of the Italian Open 2021. It was Rafa who once again showed why he is the ‘King of Clay’ and defeated Djokovic in three sets to achieve his ‘La Decima’ in Rome. Interestingly, he also narrowed down the gap as now Djokovic is just one win ahead of Rafa in their head-to-head battle (29-28).

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Surprisingly, Novak Djokovic has now lost five consecutive matches on clay against Rafael Nadal. In a recent interview, he expressed his feelings on the same.

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“Rafa is always going to give his best, quality tennis, particularly on clay. I don’t know, some matches were close, some he dominated,” said Djokovic in the interview.

Runner up Novak Djokovic of Serbia alongside French Open winner Rafael Nadal of Spain. Trophies Presentation after the French Open 2020 final REUTERS/Charles Platiau

‘Djoker’ admitted that Rafa always gives his 100%, especially when he plays on clay. However, he accepted that some of their last matches were close as well where he gave some really tough competition to the 20-time Grand Slam winner.

Without a doubt, it is only Nole who has given some fight to Nadal when it comes to playing on clay in the recent past. However, his last victory over the Spaniard on the surface came five years back when he crushed him in straight sets in the quarters of the Italian Open 2016.

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“His level on clay is always there”- Novak Djokovic on Rafael Nadal

Djokovic highlighted that he hasn’t been able to meet Rafa’s level on clay. He believes that he has an unparalleled level on the surface and one has no chance of matching that level.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021. Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

“I wasn’t meeting his level, and his level on clay is always there. Like that, you have no chance,” added the World No.1 player.

As of now, both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are in Paris and will begin their French Open 2021 campaign today. Intriguingly, they are in the same draw this year and might encounter each other in the semis of the tournament. Will Djokovic be able to end his five-year-long drought against Rafa on clay and stop him from lifting his 14th Roland Garros title this year?

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Anshul Singh

949 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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