Historic French Cup final: How Djokovic can extinguish Nadal’s fire in epic clash
Rafael Nadal is currently the best player on clay court which is the reason why in spite of fighting back in the interrupted French Open final on Sunday, the Super Serb Djokovic will have to play his heart out to outclass the relentless defending champion. Zeenews.com’s Suyash Srivastava suggests some ways which can help Djokovic tackle the Spaniard.
1) Score points on first serve: We all know that Djokovic is probably the best returner of the serve at the moment but when playing against someone like Nadal on clay court, Nole needs to hit more aces and convert points from his first serve. Because once Nadal begins to play rallies, he can outclass the best in the business with his stamina.
2) Overcome fatigue: With long rallies, Nadal is known to tire the opponents who end up giving easy points to the Spaniard who hardly misses them. The French Open final, which is likely to be extended to the fifth set, can be a repeat of the Australian Open 2012, where both the players ran out of steam. That match was interrupted by rain as well and the break came to the advantage of Djokovic who got his act together to bounce back in the marathon final. The World No. 1 player will have to come up with a similar performance to complete his Career Grand Slam.
3) Come more often at the nets: As we saw in yesterday’s game, Djokovic looked a better player when he advanced on to the nets. He will have to play strokes which can allow him to come to the nets as Nadal plays aggressively to keep his opponent deep back in the court.
4) Play drop shots wisely: Djokovic played the first drop shot a bit too late in the final, but the first one won him a point. Nadal too played some of those shots but he used it wisely as with back-to-back powerful strokes, he sent Nole back in the court and then executed the drop shots to perfection. Djokovic on the other hand was too casual while playing them later on, as Nadal advanced and smashed them as winners. The World No. 1 is known to master the drop shots, but he has to judge them well against the King of Clay.
5) Outclass Rafa with ground strokes: The Serb is the world’s best player when it comes to hitting ground strokes and thus he should make Nadal stretch often and push him back for winners.
6) Avoid over-aggression, over-hitting After losing the first set on Sunday, the World No. 1 made a lot of unforced errors as plenty of his backhands crashed to the nets. Nole could have played those strokes anywhere in the court, but he tried to hit them cross court and paid the price by losing several points. He will have to be a little more judgmental while playing shots under pressure.