Novak has a much better chance vs Nadal tomorrow than most people think

Does Novak have a chance to do the unthinkable at RG


  • Total voters
    78

TennisFan3

G.O.A.T.
Here's why Novak has a good shot vs Nadal at the RG 2021 SF. The match will be very close at the least, and may result in an upset as well.
  • Zero Pressure: Nadal won RG 2020 in straights. Everyone expects him to win. Novak had way more pressure during RG 2020 - now he can just swing for the fences without any pressure.​
  • Ambition: Novak is man possessed. After having lose to Nadal in RG 2020 - he's made it his life goal to beat Nadal in Paris again. Hence the huge war-cry after winning the SF vs Matteo. He wants this way more than Nadal.​
  • Novak's serving: 2021 has been a revelation. Serving far better than he did in 2020. Broken only thrice in this tournament.​
  • Fitness/Match Time: Novak is FRESH into this final: RG 2020 he came from a long 5 setter. Rome 2021 - he played 2 matches and 5 hours the day before. He hasn't played Nadal fresh in a major clay match for a while.​
  • Conditions: Cooler evening time conditions drifting into the night. The earliest match start is 5:30 PM- but will likely be quite a bit later. Nadal's spin and bounce will be easier to handle in such conditions.​
  • Nadal's Vulnerability as he Ages: In losses to Rublev, Zverev, MP down vs Titspas and losing 1-6 set vs Novak in Rome - Nadal has shown vulnerability this clay season. No one better to take Nadal's legs away and exploit any dips in form.​
I am not saying Novak will win for sure. But the match would be very close. It will likely to be closer to their F.O 2013 SF Epic.
The winner will likely be the player who gets lucky at a few key points - similar to the AO 2012 F and Wimb 2018 SF.
 
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TennisFan3

G.O.A.T.
I'm not sure that a man possessed, with a great deal of ambition, also feels "zero pressure."
Zero pressure for sure. Who expects Novak to win? Especially after a straight set drubbing last.
It's not even the final.
Last year pundits were favoring Novak.

This time it's all pressure on Nadal. Everyone expects him to win. Novak will be much more free while playing.
 

reef58

Rookie
Neither player is going to have zero pressure. Both players will have the maximum pressure relative to the maximum they have had before. If Novak bounces the ball 20 times before each serve he is going to get his butt handed to him. If Novak is Sharp then it is a coin flip. I think they are pretty equal not accounting for Nadal's clay advantage.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
If you have zero pressure in this sort of big match, you either don't care or you are complacent, and neither of those are a good sign. Equally, you don't want to get nervous to the point where you simply cannot play anywhere near the standard required.
 

Kralingen

Professional
I really want to believe this TennisFan. I do. Caught between head and heart right now.

The rational side of my brain entering tomorrow - Djokovic and Nadal have just played too many matches for any surprises and it’s clear Djokovic will run out of ideas (and groundstrokes) before Nadal on PC. His service advantage will probably be nullified by Rafa returning from the 5th row, and his declined FH and BH power and confidence give the baseline edge to Rafa and his topspin. Djokovic may win some points on serve and get an early break in a set or two but these will be swiftly followed by 20-30 minutes of lefty FHDTLs and a constant stream of very humble fist pumps and Vamos before a comfortable 6-4 to finish. Then we have a deflating 3-0/3-1 and all the hype is for nought, like last year.

My heart that loves drama and epic matches of course hopes Djokovic summons some inner 2013 demon using energy pyramids and wins 2 of the first 3 sets somehow. There is a genuine chance, if the big points go Djokovic’s way - Nadal’s best level is still amazing but his consistency is the most notable facet of his decline and he will give opportunities to Novak. Then anything is possible, though I expect Rafa would still win.. I just don’t see it, and I think Rafa convinced both players that the door is shut with that Rome final set.
 
Zero pressure for sure. Who expects Novak to win? Especially after a straight set drubbing last.
It's not even the final.
Last year pundits were favoring Novak.

This time it's all pressure on Nadal. Everyone expects him to win. Novak will be much more free while playing.
Self-inflicted pressure, because he wants to win. Desire, not expectation, is the source of pressure.
 

TennisFan3

G.O.A.T.
I really want to believe this TennisFan. I do. Caught between head and heart right now.

The rational side of my brain entering tomorrow - Djokovic and Nadal have just played too many matches for any surprises and it’s clear Djokovic will run out of ideas (and groundstrokes) before Nadal on PC. His service advantage will probably be nullified by Rafa returning from the 5th row, and his declined FH and BH power and confidence give the baseline edge to Rafa and his topspin. Djokovic may win some points on serve and get an early break in a set or two but these will be swiftly followed by 20-30 minutes of lefty FHDTLs and a constant stream of very humble fist pumps and Vamos before a comfortable 6-4 to finish. Then we have a deflating 3-0/3-1 and all the hype is for nought, like last year.

My heart that loves drama and epic matches of course hopes Djokovic summons some inner 2013 demon using energy pyramids and wins 2 of the first 3 sets somehow. There is a genuine chance, if the big points go Djokovic’s way - Nadal’s best level is still amazing but his consistency is the most notable facet of his decline and he will give opportunities to Novak. Then anything is possible, though I expect Rafa would still win.. I just don’t see it, and I think Rafa convinced both players that the door is shut with that Rome final set.
Great post. Nadal is obviously the favorite on clay.
But it's another match that could be very close. Pressure is on Nadal and his age is showing in the dips of form and intensity.
I expect Novak to swing free since it's a SF and he has less pressure. Easier to play as an underdog.
 

Ivan Lendl

New User
He has a better chance than last year probably. But, I don't think that performances in previous rounds can precisely indicate what will happen tomorrow. Also, pressure is not something that could be measured objectively. Djokovic could be under pressure more than Nadal tomorrow even there is no objective reason for that.
 

Aabye5

Rookie
When the Big 3 play, it is always too close to call. Rafa could crush Nole, Nole could crush Rafa, or it could be a single point that divides them in the end. I would not be surprised with any of these outcomes.
 

TennisFan3

G.O.A.T.
When the Big 3 play, it is always too close to call. Rafa could crush Nole, Nole could crush Rafa, or it could be a single point that divides them in the end. I would not be surprised with any of these outcomes.
Nice post. Completely agree.
 

NADALalot

Hall of Fame
I'm surprised how easily Berrettini got into Djokovic's service games........and if Nadal gets to as many deuces as Berrettini did, then Nadal will bagel Djokovic again.
In the 1st Set (which Djokovic won 6-3)........Djokovic got 74% of 1st Serves in........but Berrettini had Break Point in THREE of Djokovic's service games, and Deuce in FOUR of them.

And Nadal is moving a lot better than 2020 RG........and winning the last 9 games vs. Schwartzman is surreal........given that Nadal had never bagelled him before.
 

NADALalot

Hall of Fame
2020 was when nearly all the experts tipped Djokovic.
Whereas this year, I doubt any of them are tipping Djokovic, or almost none.

https://www.espn.com.au/tennis/story/_/id/29969016/2020-french-open-experts-picks-anyone-stop-novak-djokovic-simona-halep

Jerry Bembry: Djokovic. He has only won the French Open once, in 2016, but he should be inspired and focused after he was defaulted at the US Open.

Pete Bodo: I think the fates have really worked against Nadal this year, which is the big picture explanation for why Djokovic will win.

Cliff Drysdale: Daniil Medvedev is a clay-court artist and ready to pick up the pieces if Nadal implodes.

Chris Evert: Djokovic will be the winner because Nadal is a little vulnerable at this time. Djokovic is hungry for titles especially after the US Open fiasco.

Brad Gilbert: Tough call call between co-favorites Nadal and Djokovic. Slower, heavy fall conditions mean I am slightly leaning toward Djokovic -- who comes in after a victory in Rome -- to win his second French Open.

Tom Hamilton: Beware the wounded Djokovic. After his disastrous US Open, Djokovic will bounce back at Roland Garros in the uncharacteristic autumnal chill. With a favorable draw, Djokovic will knock over Nadal in the final.

D'Arcy Maine: Djokovic has won the French Open just once during his storied career, but this might just be his best chance for a second major title on clay. The world No. 1 won last week's Italian Open in convincing fashion -- dropping just one set en route to the trophy -- and he will undoubtedly be looking for redemption in Paris after his controversial exit in the fourth round in New York. With Nadal -- the 12-time Roland Garros champion -- out of form in his one tournament (in Rome) since the restart, it feels like things are aligning for Djokovic to win Grand Slam No. 18.

Patrick Mouratoglou: Djokovic, because he did not lose a match this year (I do not count his disqualification at the US Open as a loss). He is a great clay-court player, beat Nadal many times on clay, and the conditions this year are extremely difficult for Rafa -- plus he lacks competition.

Pam Shriver: Djokovic is your men's winner because his motivation following his US Open default is sky-high, and he won Rome. Nadal is not his usual Roland Garros-ready self, and no one is playing better than Djokovic right now.

Alexandra Stevenson: Everyone thinks Djokovic. I'm going with Nadal. This will tie him with Roger for 20 Grand Slams. I like his mental edge more than Djokovic. Nadal is my forever clay champion. I like the look of Dominic Thiem. It would be amazing for a double Slam.

Rennae Stubbs: Nadal, because until he's not functioning as a tennis player, he will be the favorite.
 

NADALalot

Hall of Fame
He has a better chance than last year probably. But, I don't think that performances in previous rounds can precisely indicate what will happen tomorrow. Also, pressure is not something that could be measured objectively. Djokovic could be under pressure more than Nadal tomorrow even there is no objective reason for that.
Plus I don't think its possible for pressure to ever beat Nadal at Roland Garros.
He's been under pressure every year, and sometimes he was tying or beating Borg's record........and last year he was tying Federer's slam record and played his most dominant finals since 2008....
 

FlamingCheeto

Professional
You're darn tootin he does, in fact he's got a +235 chance, which means the $500 extra I just put on the match tomorrow will win me $1,175 and thus pay me $1,675.
 

Kralingen

Professional
Plus I don't think its possible for pressure to ever beat Nadal at Roland Garros.
He's been under pressure every year, and sometimes he was tying or beating Borg's record........and last year he was tying Federer's slam record and played his most dominant finals since 2008....
My view on pressure is that it's largely irrelevant before the match. In play, the pressure is always heavier on the player who is less talented and has fewer weapons. On clay, that is Djokovic.

However, the heaviest pressure one can face is situational: it's being down a set or two. Being behind in a match will always, no exceptions, put more pressure on your play, no matter what the pre-match build up was about. The player more likely to trail in this match is again Djokovic - so he will feel more pressure throughout the whole of the match.
 

NADALalot

Hall of Fame
The biggest problem for Djokovic is that last year's RG Final is such a horrible memory........so if Nadal gets up an early break it could be very hard for Djokovic to have self-belief........and whoever wins the 1st Set tends to win the match in this rivarly.
 

UnforcedTerror

Hall of Fame
  • Zero Pressure Wrong. Threre is always pressure. If Djokovic wants to have a chance at the Slam record, he has to win tomorrow.
  • Ambition: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.
  • Novak's serving: Doesn't matter against Bull on clay.
  • Fitness/Match Time: Wrong. He's not fresh at all. He spent more time on court than he should the last two weeks.
  • Conditions: Wrong. He'll struggle even more in these conditions. If they start too late the court will become too slow which favors Bull. Djokovic needs the court a bit fast to hit through him.
  • Nadal's Vulnerability as he Ages: He still wins the tournament year after year without losing more than one set, dishing out bakery products for all top players.
 
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steenkash

Hall of Fame
Sadly, I think this will be another routine win for Nadal. He looks like he's in fine form. People still getting worked up over Djocovic displaying his emotions on court lmao, these people would sh1t their pants if they go to a football game
 

NADALalot

Hall of Fame
  • Zero Pressure Worng. Threre is always pressure. If Djokovic wants to have a chance at the Slam record, he has to win tomorrow.
  • Ambition: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.
  • Novak's serving: Doesn't matter against Bull on clay.
  • Fitness/Match Time: Wrong. He's not fresh at all. He spent more time on court than he should the last two weeks.
  • Conditions: Worng. He'll struggle even more in these conditions. If they start too late the court will become too slow which favors Bull. Djokovic needs the court a bit fast to hit through him.
  • Nadal's Vulnerability as he Ages: He still wins the tournament year after year without losing more than one set, dishing out bakery products for all top players.
I agree, people assumed the roof would help Djokovic because he's a great indoor player........and because Nadal's top spin won't bounce as much without the sun........but indoor clay is very easy for Nadal and gives him more time to retrieve.
Also closed roof at Wimbledon was just fine for Nadal.
2018 Wimbledon, Nadal almost beat Djokovic, 10-8 5th Set.
2020 RG, the most dominant win Nadal has ever had over Djokovic.
 

Djokinho

Rookie
I think Djokovic will be silly if they are under a lot of pressure for this game.

I hope he plays soft, tactically. Last year, as good as Nadal played, Djokovic lacked tactics.

In Rome he improved a lot, Nadal won in detail. The bull won just 3 points more than the Djoker.

The last memory should be Rome 2021, not RG 2020.
 

TennisFan3

G.O.A.T.
  • Zero Pressure Worng. Threre is always pressure. If Djokovic wants to have a chance at the Slam record, he has to win tomorrow.
  • Ambition: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.
  • Novak's serving: Doesn't matter against Bull on clay.
  • Fitness/Match Time: Wrong. He's not fresh at all. He spent more time on court than he should the last two weeks.
  • Conditions: Worng. He'll struggle even more in these conditions. If they start too late the court will become too slow which favors Bull. Djokovic needs the court a bit fast to hit through him.
  • Nadal's Vulnerability as he Ages: He still wins the tournament year after year without losing more than one set, dishing out bakery products for all top players.
Touche. Well done.
 

TennisFan3

G.O.A.T.
I think Djokovic will be silly if they are under a lot of pressure for this game.

I hope he plays soft, tactically. Last year, as good as Nadal played, Djokovic lacked tactics.

In Rome he improved a lot, Nadal won in detail. The bull won just 3 points more than the Djoker.

The last memory should be Rome 2021, not RG 2020.
Excellent post.
Novak was very close in Rome 2021. After playing 5 hours the previous day.
Now he would be fresh.
 

Jokervich

Hall of Fame
Here's why Novak has a good shot vs Nadal at the RG 2021 SF. The match will be very close at the least, and may result in an upset as well.
  • Zero Pressure: Nadal won RG 2020 in straights. Everyone expects him to win. Novak had way more pressure during RG 2020 - now he can just swing for the fences without any pressure.​
  • Ambition: Novak is man possessed. After having lose to Nadal in RG 2020 - he's made it his life goal to beat Nadal in Paris again. Hence the huge war-cry after winning the SF vs Matteo. He wants this way more than Nadal.​
  • Novak's serving: 2021 has been a revelation. Serving far better than he did in 2020. Broken only thrice in this tournament.​
  • Fitness/Match Time: Novak is FRESH into this final: RG 2020 he came from a long 5 setter. Rome 2021 - he played 2 matches and 5 hours the day before. He hasn't played Nadal fresh in a major clay match for a while.​
  • Conditions: Cooler evening time conditions drifting into the night. The earliest match start is 5:30 PM- but will likely be quite a bit later. Nadal's spin and bounce will be easier to handle in such conditions.​
  • Nadal's Vulnerability as he Ages: In losses to Rublev, Zverev, MP down vs Titspas and losing 1-6 set vs Novak in Rome - Nadal has shown vulnerability this clay season. No one better to take Nadal's legs away and exploit any dips in form.​
I am not saying Novak will win for sure. But the match would be very close. It will likely to be closer to their F.O 2013 SF Epic.
The winner will likely be the player who gets lucky at a few key points - similar to the AO 2012 F and Wimb 2018 SF.
The only point that is relevant there is Novak's serving.

He has just as much pressure as last time, just as much ambition, fitness has never been an issue (he's always recovered fine after long matches), both are 9 months older than last time, conditions have never made a difference for Nadal at RG.
 

ACE of Hearts

Bionic Poster
Every year we hear the same crap. People even picked Novak last year to beat nadal because of the conditions and we saw a demolition from nadal. I don’t see novak winning tomorrow. Winning the first set gives him a slight chance at best.
 
Theres pressure on both guys this tournament. Pressure to be GOAT. Both can get it essentially winning this one tournament. 21 slams or double career slam with the weeks at#1. Probably a bit more pressure on Rafa cause he has less chances at winning a slam than Nole but that double career slam is huge for Djoker
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
The idea that someone plays a slam semifinal without pressure is laughable. Also, based on their Rome match Djokovic is the clear favorite. Nadal has big mental problems against him, especially in BO5.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
DCGS on the line.This match is huge.
Djoker needs a victory over a healthy Rafa at Roland Garros.
Rafa was clearly injured in their 2015 match.

 
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Here's why Novak has a good shot vs Nadal at the RG 2021 SF. The match will be very close at the least, and may result in an upset as well.
  • Zero Pressure: Nadal won RG 2020 in straights. Everyone expects him to win. Novak had way more pressure during RG 2020 - now he can just swing for the fences without any pressure.​
  • Ambition: Novak is man possessed. After having lose to Nadal in RG 2020 - he's made it his life goal to beat Nadal in Paris again. Hence the huge war-cry after winning the SF vs Matteo. He wants this way more than Nadal.​
  • Novak's serving: 2021 has been a revelation. Serving far better than he did in 2020. Broken only thrice in this tournament.​
  • Fitness/Match Time: Novak is FRESH into this final: RG 2020 he came from a long 5 setter. Rome 2021 - he played 2 matches and 5 hours the day before. He hasn't played Nadal fresh in a major clay match for a while.​
  • Conditions: Cooler evening time conditions drifting into the night. The earliest match start is 5:30 PM- but will likely be quite a bit later. Nadal's spin and bounce will be easier to handle in such conditions.​
  • Nadal's Vulnerability as he Ages: In losses to Rublev, Zverev, MP down vs Titspas and losing 1-6 set vs Novak in Rome - Nadal has shown vulnerability this clay season. No one better to take Nadal's legs away and exploit any dips in form.​
I am not saying Novak will win for sure. But the match would be very close. It will likely to be closer to their F.O 2013 SF Epic.
The winner will likely be the player who gets lucky at a few key points - similar to the AO 2012 F and Wimb 2018 SF.
Nadal in 3
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
It's sports, anything can happen. If anyone can beat Nadal here, it's Novak.

I just don't get how the same people who said the same things last year could have watched that final, learned absolutely nothing and gone back to pushing the same talking points just 8 months later. Just sit back and quitely enjoy the match, maybe something crazy actually will happen this time. But pressure, ambition, fitness, form and conditions were the exact same reasoning why Novak supposedly was going to be a nightmare matchup for Rafa last time around and it couldn't have been more wrong.
 
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