World No.1 Novak Djokovic defeated Norwegian counterpart Casper Ruud in straight sets (7-5, 6-3) to reach the finals of the Italian Open 2020. It was, however, the post-match presentation that gained more attention.
The 33-year-old player admitted that the absence of World No.2 Rafael Nadal from any clay-court tournament final makes an enormous difference. As a matter of fact, the Spaniard maintains a strong lead of 17-7 over the Serbian at clay courts in 24 meetings.
“Of course it makes a difference playing or not playing Nadal in the finals,” said the 17-time Grand slam champion.
With Nadal out, it will definitely be a big relief for Djokovic. He now has a comparatively easier road to his fifth Italian Open title.
Rafael Nadal currently leads the race with 9 Italian titles attached to his name. Djokovic, on the other hand, will try to show that he is as lethal on clay as on any other surface.
“Strange not facing him”- Novak Djokovic on Rafael Nadal
“Most of the finals that I reached in the big events on clay, I played against Rafa, so it’s going to be strange not facing him. But I won’t underestimate whoever I play tomorrow,” Djokovic said in the post-match presentation.
The 2 legends have met each other 55 times on the tennis court. Djokovic leads with 29 victories while Nadal was able to win on 26 occasions.
However, Nadal leads 9-6 in Grand Slam finals. Many pundits and fans thought they will witness yet another Djokovic vs Nadal final at the Italian Open 2020. But, the young Argentine, Diego Schwartzman, exhibited some phenomenal gameplay and eliminated Nadal in straight sets.
“I am not as fresh as I was 5-10 years ago, but I still feel physically ready,” concluded a tired Djokovic.
When it comes to fitness and athleticism, Novak Djokovic is way ahead of his ‘Big Three’ counterparts. He gives strong competition to a 20-22-year-old-lad when it comes to physical fitness.
He was even seen with Football legend Cristiano Ronaldo during a training session, earlier in 2020. Even though age might be a barrier for many, the Serbian continues to challenge the laws of biology.
Novak Djokovic will now face Diego Schwartzman in the finals of Italian Open 2020. He would surely want to continue his unbeaten streak, lift the Italian Open 2020 title, and then focus on winning the French Open 2020.