The clash Djokovic - Nadal - Goran Ivanisevic: "So much the better if 80% of the public is against Novak"

The clash Djokovic – Nadal – Goran Ivanisevic: “So much the better if 80% of the public is against Novak”

Goran Ivanisevic is never stingy with words. Including before a big meeting. Last year, the Croatian claimed from the draw that he was delighted that his foal, Novak Djokovic was in the same half of the table as Rafael Nadal. In his eyes, it was “easier” for him to face the master of the place before the final. The facts had rather proved him right.

While the 59th duel between Djokovic and Nadal will be held Tuesday evening at Roland-Garros, the former Wimbledon winner gave the cover in the Croatian press, during an interview with SportKlub. For him, “there is no favorite in this game. There will be tension, there always is, but positive tension. Then when two players have faced each other 58 times, they know each other by heart.”

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These two actually know each other by heart. Yet, Goran Ivanisevic believes that there is “always new things to find tactically” So he prepares these matches with particular meticulousness. “I saw their match ten times last year (the Roland-Garros semi-final, editor’s note), and that of the year before (the 2020 final). Sunday, I watched almost the entire game of Rafa against Félix. There’s always something to find, even though Novak knows what he has to do.”

Nadal-Djokovic Tuesday evening? “At the US Open or Melbourne, the question would never arise”

I like when people are against him

Does the fact that the meeting is held in the evening benefit Novak Djokovic? Maybe, but that is anecdotal for Ivanisevic: “Nadal said he didn’t want to play night session, Nole said he did, but that doesn’t mean a lot. If you don’t play well, it doesn’t matter when the game is played. Whether it’s five in the morning, noon or nine in the evening, it won’t matter.”

And the public? Will he play a role in this 59th opus? What will be his attitude? Very supported on Sunday during his round of 16 against Félix Auger-Aliassime on the Central, Rafael Nadal should again benefit from the support of the crowd, especially since the Majorcan suggested that each match he now played at Roland -Garros was likely to be the last.

But that doesn’t worry Goran Ivanisevic. On the contrary. “So much the better if 80% of the public is against Novakhe believes. I think it will, but it’s better that way. I like when people are against him, it gives him a reason to be angry and to be even hungrier.” “No one handles these kinds of situations better than him, not only today but in the history of tennisconfirms Eurosport consultant John McEnroe. I couldn’t do it as well as he did. Sometimes it made me stronger, but not always. While he feeds on it every time.”

We have to show Rafa respect, but not too much

The Croatian coach of the world number one wants to be confident in any case as the clash approaches. “Of course he believes in deathory, assures Ivanisevic. He is hitting his peak form, exactly as he hoped. Novak knows how strong he is. For me, for all his fans, he is the greatest player of all time, but he has to face a man who has won Roland-Garros 13 times. It’s like walking into someone’s house. We’re going to play in his living room. We have to show Rafa respect, but not too much.”

For his coach, Djokovic must be “ready to play 27 sets and 57 hours” when he enters the court against Nadal. Even more so here, at Roland-Garros. And if he has total confidence in his champion, he expresses a wish: that he enters his match faster than his last two years : “In my opinion, Novak should start better. If we look at the last two matches here, he took 6-0 in the first set two years ago. Last year, he was down 5-0 in two minutes. He must be focused from the start, he must talk less, stay focused, not waste energy on trivialities and not talk to me. He must focus on him from the first point.”

When Novak shows the moon, Goran already sees the Cup of the Musketeers.

Credit: Getty Images

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