Novak Djokovic Admits Rafael Nadal is a ‘Big Problem’ at French Open

Published 03/12/2021, 5:00 AM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after winning the match point during their final singles match daring day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)


The Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic rivalry is one of the most intriguing rivalries in the history of tennis. Although Djoker leads the head-to-head battle, Rafa clearly dominates over Djokovic on the clay surface. The Serbian legend recently won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open 2021 but believes that the French Open 2021 will be a big challenge for him.

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In a recent interview, Novak Djokovic admitted that Rafael Nadal will pose a big threat to him at the French Open 2021. He highlighted that one needed to be at the top of their game in order to beat Rafa at the Roland Garros.

“[The French Open] still has a big problem called Rafael Nadal! But we’ll try. If you have any advice [on how to beat him], don’t hesitate! You must be on top physically and mentally,” said Djokovic in the interview.

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Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia while playing a tie break doubles exhibition match against Simone Halep of Romania and Alexander Zverev of Germany on Court Philippe Chatrier during a packed Children’s Day at Roland Garros before the start of the 2018 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 26th, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Djokovic remains only one of two players who have defeated Nadal at the French Open. The Serb revealed that he loves challenges and accepted that beating Rafa at the French Open is the biggest challenge in tennis today.

“I once beat Nadal at Roland Garros but I lost very, very often. And I think that’s the biggest challenge you have in tennis today. But I love challenges, it requires you to give your best,” added the World No. 1 player.

Novak Djokovic discloses his biggest priority in tennis right now

In the same interview, Djokovic also highlighted his biggest priority in tennis as of now. He said that he wanted to end his career as the player with the most Grand Slam titles. For that to happen, along with winning majors, he will also have to stop Rafa and Roger Federer from winning more Grand Slam titles.

Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

“Yes I can say it, it’s my biggest priority now to win as many Grand Slam titles as possible. I’m trying to organize my schedule around that, especially for Roland Garros this year,” concluded the 18-time Grand Slam champion.

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After a successful Australian Open 2021 campaign, Djoker is certainly aiming for the French Open 2021 title. He knows that he has an incredible record at the US Open and at the Wimbledon Championships, but needs to improve his gameplay on clay. Will Djokovic be able to equal Nadal’s and Federer’s Grand Slam tally in 2021?

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Anshul Singh

957 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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