‘More Chances to Beat Him Here’ – Coach Says Rafael Nadal Is Closer to Wimbledon Crown Than Novak Djokovic

Published 07/01/2022, 7:30 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after winning their semi final match. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Tennis is known for its iconic rivalries. A living example of it is the rivalry between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Being two of the greatest players in the past two decades, Nadal and Djokovic have played each other a whopping 59 times in their careers so far. Eyeing the 60th meet, the two are giving their all at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships.

On one hand, after a tough year so far, Djokovic is looking to defend his Wimbledon crown. On the other hand, after winning the Australian Open and the French Open, Nadal is looking to add his third title of the year at Wimbledon. Going by the stats, Djokovic has the upper hand on grass courts. However, as per one of Nadal’s coaches, Francisco Roig, the Spaniard is closer to the Wimbledon crown this year.

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Francisco Roig chooses Rafael Nadal over Novak Djokovic for the Wimbledon title

Flying down from Spain, Francisco Roig and Marc Lopez are helping Nadal to be at his best while playing at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. At the sidelines of the ravishing grass courts, recently, the 54-year-old Roig took out some time from his coaching sessions to interact with ATP.

During the conversation, he pointed out how Nadal could be a potential threat to his opponents at this year’s Wimbledon. Supporting his point, he drew a comparison between Nadal playing on grass courts versus him playing on hard courts.

“He [Nadal] had a few years in which he didn’t play well on grass, but if he’s doing well, there are fewer rivals who can beat him on grass than on hard courts,” Roig said.

Being the top 2 seeds, the two would potentially face each other in the finals of the Championships. Going by records, the two have faced each other a total of 4 times on grass till now, with both winning twice. However, considering the last few years, as mentioned earlier, the Serbian has an upper hand statistically.

However, considering the current form of Nadal and the not so pleasant year of Djokovic, Roig has a different view. Putting his bets on Nadal, Roig further added, “In that same way, I think he is closer to Djokovic on this surface than on fast [hard courts]. Being difficult to beat on both [surfaces] and considering that he [Djokovic] is the favourite [at Wimbledon], there are more chances to beat him here.”

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The run of Nadal and Djokovic at Wimbledon so far

Roig has asserted Nadal is closer than his rival to the Wimbledon crown. However, considering the two are just in the third round right now, it would be a thing to see whether the two make it to the finals or not.

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Novak Djokovic kicked off his campaign with a first-round win over Kwon Soon-woo. It was followed by a second-round triumph over Thanasi Kokkinakis. Outplaying the first two opponents, he will now face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanović in the third round. 

On the other hand, eyeing his third Grand Slam title of the season, Rafael Nadal kicked off his campaign with a first-round win over Francisco Cerundolo. It was followed by a second-round win over Ricardas Berankis. Looking in strong form, he will now face the 27th seeded Italian, Lorenzo Sonego.

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Ahmar Wasif

795 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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