Djokovic Braces For Nadal, Roland Garros Demons
Zeeshan Mehtab 1 month ago Thu 24th September 2020 | 04:19 PM
Novak Djokovic will renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it's himself rather than 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest barrier to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown
Paris (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 24th Sep, 2020 ) :Novak Djokovic will renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it's himself rather than 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest barrier to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown.
The 33-year-old heads for the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade, which saw him accidentally hit a line judge with a ball, was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome.
Not even Nadal, the holder of 19 majors, or Roger Federer, with a record 20 Slams, can match that staggering achievement.
However, Djokovic refused to get carried away by his chances at Roland Garros ahead of Sunday's start.
"The record that he has there, the history of his results, you just can't put anybody in front of him." Djokovic is right to be cautious after experiencing numerous low points on the red clay of Paris.
In the 2012 final against Nadal, having won eight games in a row, he was up a break and pushing to level the match at two sets apiece when rain brought an overnight suspension.
Play resumed the following day but Djokovic's momentum was lost and a double-fault on championship point completed his misery.
Twelve months later, Djokovic was poised for a semi-final win over Nadal with just a routine putaway required to help give him a 5-3 final set lead and a chance to serve for the match.
However, he chose a smash rather than a soothing touch.
He tumbled into the net, losing the point and Nadal pounced to eventually take the tie after four hours and 37 minutes.
That match took two days to complete, featured numerous rain stoppages and winds so strong that a courtside umbrella was sent flying across court.
"Obviously when you're playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it's hard to perform your best," said Djokovic.
Since his title-winning debut in 2005, the Spaniard has only lost twice at Roland Garros in 95 matches - to Robin Soderling in 2009 and Djokovic in 2015.
"It's a completely special and unpredictable year," admitted Nadal of a French Open pushed back four months due to the pandemic.
The world number three Austrian has 17 career titles with 10 of those on clay.
Four of his five wins over Nadal have come on clay with three of four victories against Djokovic carved out on the sport's most testing surface.
World number five Daniil Medvedev has yet to win a match at the tournament in three visits while sixth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas made the last 16 in 2019, losing a five-set marathon to former champion Stan Wawrinka.