Nadal not nervous about Rome `favourite` Djokovic

Updated: May 14, 2011, 09:06 AM IST

Rome: Despite losing three finals in a row to Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal is not running scared of the Serbian at the Rome Masters.

Nadal has labelled Djokovic the "favourite" in Rome after the Serb improved his winning streak for the year to 35 matches but the Spaniard is keen to bring that run to an end.

Spaniard Nadal, who made sure of retaining his world number one status for the French Open after cruising past Croat Marin Cilic in the Rome quarter-finals, faces Richard Gasquet in the last four while Djokovic plays Andy Murray.

"He`s playing well and is probably the favourite for every match this year," Nadal told reporters in Rome.

"He beat me in Indian Wells, he beat me in Miami and he beat me in Madrid, but those finals with Djokovic are in the past. I`d love to play him in another final."

Djokovic has won his past six tournaments, gatecrashing the traditional Nadal-Federer duopoly.

"He beat me three times. It can happen. I don`t know how many times I beat him before," said Nadal, who has a 16-10 win-loss record against the 23-year-old. "Now he`s playing well, but before I played well against him. I cannot be nervous about Novak."

Nadal, dubbed the `King of Clay`, lost to Djokovic for the first time on the red dirt in Spain. The Spaniard has nine Grand Slam titles, including five on the clay of Roland Garros, while Novak`s two Slams were at the Australian Open.

"Novak will lose. I don`t know if it will be tomorrow or in six months," said Nadal. "Tennis is like that. You have form. The advantage he has is that he`s comfortable on all surfaces and another advantage is that he`s very good."

Bureau Report