March 7, 2021

Novak Djokovic: Nadal is my main career rival

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic commented on reaching the final of the Australian Open.

Do you change your tennis with age?

– I adapt my age to the game. Now I have no problems with the body that would interfere with my game. And my game remains the same. Of course, I strive to add, like everyone else. But in general, I’m not going to change anything now.

You gave fewer games than Rafa in the semifinals.

– It was difficult, but I managed. He is very impressive throughout the tournament. Not lost a set. Now shows his best game on hard. I also played well in recent matches. I think the final will take place at the right time for both of us. I’m sure it will be fun. I can promise one thing: we will both leave all the forces on the court. I think the audience will like it. Of course, I will try to play as well as I played. Of course, another tactical approach is needed to Rafa. I’m sure he will do the same for his part. He is the main rival in my career. We met with him so often, we played epic matches. Of course, the almost six-hour finals in 2012 stand out. I hope we will play faster this time. But I am sure that the final will be good.

– Would you show that match to the children?

– Probably, I would not show it to them entirely, because I do not want the children to sit in front of the TV for so long. But I would probably put it in the context of our rivalry. He would have become the cherry on the cake. As I said, in the course of my life and career, Rafa was my main opponent on all coverages. Some matches were turning points in my career. I think they made me rethink my game. I had hurtful defeats. In my opinion, I lost him nine games on the “Helmets”, there were heavy defeats in the finals and semi-finals of “Roland Garros” and the US Open. But there were wonderful victories. Such meetings, of course, made me the player that I am today. For the sake of such matches you live – the finals of the “Slams” against the greatest opponents in the best shape. What more could you ask for?

– Do you like matches with Rafa?

– Of course, if I win. Look at the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, the Australian Open 2012 final. It even seems unfair to me that there should be only one winner. Such matches, when you fight for a very long time and bring each other to the limit of possibilities. Of course, I want to get out of such matches as a winner, but at the same time you understand that if you left yourself on the court, then you can be pleased with it. This is a pleasure, because you have no regrets. When you leave all the emotions and strength, it is better to enjoy what is happening.

Do you like to play with new rivals?

– I had to study him and his combinations. Of course, I talked to the players who met him. And then he just went out and focused on the implementation of his plan. Of course, today I had a perfect match from the first draw to the last. I performed everything that I intended, and even more than I expected.

Ideal matches happen often?

– I hope they will meet more often. In the past, I had tournaments, especially in Australia, when I played great matches, several matches in a row when I won in three sets. But given the circumstances, it was one of the best matches in the Rod Laver arena in my career. We all strive to catch this state. Every professional athlete wants to catch this state, when everything works out without effort, when you automatically perform everything you aspire to. No need to think too much. Probably, you are driven by some kind of force, and you feel like a deity, you seem to be in another dimension. This is a terrific feeling in which we all strive. And, probably, the most difficult task is to keep him as long as possible. Much depends on how you feel on a particular day, who is on the other side of the grid and other things. It takes a lot of time to come to this state, but it is very easy to lose. Therefore, we all realize that professionalism leads to that state of mind and play, when everything works out on its own.

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