“No Problem With That”: Rafael Nadal Unfazed With Novak Djokovic in His Half of French Open 2021 Draw

Published 06/01/2021, 2:48 PM 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


Parisian clay supremo Rafael Nadal, who is chasing a record 14th Roland Garros crown, has defeated the young Australian Alexei Popyrin in straight sets 6-3,6-2,7-6(3) in his opening round match.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 1, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his first round match against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Watch this story: Best duels of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at French Open, Italian Open, and other clay court tournaments

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Rafael Nadal says he is comfortable having Djokovic in his half of French Open draw

The Spaniard displayed absolute dominance in the first two sets as he didn’t give Popyrin much time to read and react to his first serves. As a result, Nadal was able to win a lot of shorter points on his first serve.

By the time Popyrin settled into the match, he was already late by two sets. But, the Australian gave enough displayed grit and remained toe-to-toe against the Spaniard and took the third-set to a tie-breaker.

At one point, the Aussie had a couple of set points on Nadal’s serve in the tenth game of the set. Once the set reached the tie-breaker, Nadal was all over the youngster with his fierce forehand winners to win the tie-breaker and the match, eventually.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 1, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his first round match against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Speaking at his post-match press conference, the Spaniard spoke about an unfavorable draw, where he was lined up with peers Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

t’s part of the game, that’s how leaderboards work. There is no sport more fair than tennis for this. There is a ranking, the seeds are calculated based on the rankings you had in the previous year, the full year”, added Nadal. 

The Spaniard also looked quite comfortable on playing Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and accepted the way draws work in tennis.

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Novak is first, no problem with that. Me, I’m here to do my best and when you’re seed number 3, you can be in the same part of the table as number 1 or number 2. Here, it’s number 1 this time, but whatever”, the Spaniard continued. 

After winning two titles on the red turf this year, Nadal gained enough confidence to re-write the history once again on the Parisian clay this year. Also, the victory against Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open finals would have immensely helped the Spaniard.

Nadal will face Richard Gasquet in the second round of the French Open.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

221 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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