Coach Goran Ivanisevic said he thought that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic was the favorite in the French Open final against Rafael Nadal and he was convinced this would be the year the Serb beats the Spaniard at Roland Garros.
“I’m counting on Novak – Nadal in the final, in which, in my opinion, Nadal has no chance in these conditions, on this clay and with Novak, who has got into his head,” Ivanisevic told HRT earlier last week.
Djokovic, seeded at No. 1, and No. 2 seed Nadal made the final but it was a one-sided affair as the Spaniard dominated the Serb 6-0 6-2 7-5 to claim a record 13th French Open title. Nadal, 34, now has 20 Grand Slam titles and he has equaled Roger Federer on the all-time Grand Slam record list.
“I was really certain of Novak’s victory in Paris,” Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors. “I have been sending those type of texts to Miljan (Amanovic, Djokovic’s physio) for some time. I was a bit too ambitious when I said that Nadal does not have a chance, but I sincerely felt that Novak was the favorite.
I know that Chatrier is Rafa’s living room and that he can win there even when he is playing badly, but again, I was convinced that this was Novak’s year in Paris. But Novak did not play up to his usual standards and Rafa played perfectly.
Unfortunately, Novak managed to find his shots at 2-0 and a break down and by that point it was too late.
Ivanisevic admits Nadal outplayed Djokovic
Nadal blew an early third set break but kept his focus and got the job done in straight sets.
“Nadal outplayed him tactically and in every other aspect,” Ivanisevic admitted. “The same thing happened in Melbourne last year, with reversed roles – Novak “killed” Rafa back then, and now Rafa has hit back.
A lot of expectations, a lot at stake… So the last two Slam finals they have played have not been the best quality-wise. The cause? I am not sure… Everything started badly, Novak got broken from 40-15 up, and it is hard to come back when you make Rafa feel comfortable in Paris.
I felt that the conditions favored Novak as well, but it was like he did not show up, and Rafa just kept pounding and pounding. There was a glimpse of hope at 5-4 in the third, but there was no way back at that stage.”