“Might Be Madness”: Coach Goran Ivanisevic Says Only Novak Djokovic Can Beat Rafael Nadal at French Open 2021

Published 05/26/2021, 7:31 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


In the past decade, there has been no other player besides Novak Djokovic that has been able to give Rafael Nadal a tough time on the clay courts. The Serbian ace has managed to beat the Spanish dominator on seven occasions when they’ve met on a clay court.

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Recently, coach Goran Ivanisevic spoke about his pupil Djokovic and his chances of winning the French Open 2021. When it comes to Roland Garros, it is Rafael Nadal who is the biggest obstacle for any player. The Croatian coach feels it is Novak who has the best chance to beat the Spaniard. 

“Il n’y en a qu’un qui peut battre Nadal selon moi : Novak. C’est peut-être une folie, mais j’aimerais qu’ils soient dans la même partie de tableau. Novak performerait mieux contre lui en demie. Et Rafa performerait mieux en finale. C’est psychologique.” https://t.co/c2kzpqk9D4

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— Quentin Moynet (@QuentinMoynet) May 26, 2021

The 49-year-old stated, “There is only one who can beat Nadal in my opinion: Novak. It might be madness, but I would like them to be in the same part of the table. Novak would perform better against him in the half. And Rafa would perform better in the final. It’s psychological.” (Translated via Google translate)

Rafael Nadal could be paired in Novak Djokovic’s half of the draw

Interestingly, Goran wishes for Novak and Rafa to be paired in the same half of the draw. In that case, there would be a possibility of them facing each other in the semifinals at the French Open 2021. He felt the chances of the Serb to beat the Spaniard would be high in the semifinal, whereas if they met in the final, it would be Rafa with the psychological advantage. 

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Speaking about the tennis events in this season, Novak Djokovic lifted his 18th Grand Slam title in Melbourne. He also surpassed Roger Federer in holding the top spot in rankings for the most number of weeks. However, in recent events on the clay courts, his form has been below par. 

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On the other hand, Rafael Nadal has peaked at the right time, winning titles in Barcelona and Rome. He is tipped as the favorite to win his 14th Roland Garros title. 

The main draw of the French Open 2021 begins on May 30. It will be interesting to see how these two supreme athletes perform in Paris. 

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A post shared by Goran Ivanisevic (@goranivanisevicofficial)

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Rohan Kollare

738 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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