“Very Tough Opponent” – Coach Believes Novak Djokovic is Still the Main Rival of Rafael Nadal at French Open 2021

Published 05/24/2021, 11:00 AM EDT
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)


After defeating World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the finals, Rafael Nadal recently won his 10th Italian Open title. After this, the Spaniard will be heading to Paris, where he’ll be eying his 14th French Open title this year.

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In a recent interview, Nadal‘s coach, Francis Roig, named the former’s toughest rival in Paris. Undoubtedly, it is Novak Djokovic.

However, the coach also stated that along with him, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas can also prove to be strong competitors for Rafa.

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Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic while playing a tie-break doubles exhibition match against Simone Halep and Alexander Zverev. A packed Children’s Day at Roland Garros before the start of the 2018 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“Djokovic is still the rival, perhaps, who can cause more problems, along with Tsitsipas, Zverev, and Thiem. Of course, if Thiem regains the pace and confidence that he usually shows on gravel, I would say that I see no differences between him and Djokovic,” said Roig in the interview. (Translated by Google Translate)

Even though he mentioned that Djoker hasn’t been the same player since he lost the US Open last year, the 53-year-old claimed that he is still a top-class athlete. As a result, he claimed that he’ll be a strong opponent for Rafa at the French Open 2021.

“Since he won the US Open he has dropped a bit. But I am sure that for Roland Garros he will be at the necessary level and will be a very tough opponent,” added the coach.

Francis Roig believes Novak Djokovic is a complete player

Djokovic is surely that player who can give some competition to Rafa on clay. Even though he has a 7-19 win-loss ratio against the Spaniard on the surface, he is the only one who can create problems for Nadal at Roland Garros. Moreover, Roig is also impressed by the Serb’s recent performances.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning a point during his final singles match against Rafael Nadal. Day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena on January 12, 2020, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“He is a very complete player, who demands a lot in each hit. If you leave the ball a little short, the point is over. On a physical level it is very demanding,” concluded the 53-year-old.

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As Nadal will be beginning as the third-seeded player at the French Open 2021, fans can also witness a Rafa-Djoker encounter in the semis. The Spaniard will be looking forward to defending his title this year and carry forward his legacy at the Grand Slam.

Will Djokovic be able to stop Nadal from winning his 21st major in Paris this year?

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DIVE DEEPER

“Would Prefer Best Of 5 to Best Of 3”: Novak Djokovic Reverses His Opinion on Five-Setters in Grand Slams Ahead of French Open 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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