Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal meet for the 59th time in their career on Tuesday. Arguably, the best two players in the history of this sport will clash at Roland Garros, the place where Nadal created history so many times and where Djokovic had his epic moments as well. With all due respect for Roger Federer, these two guys hold the status of the biggest rivalry in the history of this sport. And it is even more magnified now, as Djokovic tries to catch up with Rafa and his number of Grand Slam titles, and an obvious decline in their relationship since the Australian Open, once Nadal had some remarks on Djokovic’s status. This will be more than just a tennis game, due to all the above mentioned, and we simply can’t wait for it to start.
Novak Djokovic (-205) didn’t lose a set in this tournament and, for the moment, looks very confident. The only situation where he struggled in Paris was in the second round, once he had to play a tie-break in the third set against Alex Molcan. In the first four stages, Djokovic defeated Nishioka, Molcan, Bedene and Schwartzman.
His most recent event against Diego Schwartzman ended 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in his favor. Honestly, nobody expected to see Novak this confident because the Argentinian is a very good player on the clay surface, and he used to be a tough task for everyone here.
Djokovic has lots on his mind right now, and it appears that tennis is the only place where he finds himself free and protected from off-court factors. Controversies about his vaccination status and his other stances have sharply divided the fans, and also his colleagues in the tennis world.
Rafel Nadal (+195) was one of the players who had some remarks on Djokovic’s position before and during the Australian Open. It was pretty odd to hear the Spaniard speaking negatively about Djokovic’s choices, especially because he tried to be focused only on the tennis matters. But the fact that he could profit from it (and eventually did) was stronger than his manners.
Rafa didn’t win any of the Masters on clay. After losing in BNP Paribas finals in Monte Carlo, he was out early in Madrid and Rome, giving him more time to heal and recover before the French Open. Following an easy task in the opening three rounds, where he beat Jordan Thompson, Corentin Moutet, and Botic Van De Zandschlup, he had a very rough matchup with Felix Auger Aliassime in the round of 16.
Their clash lasted for more than four and a half hours, and Nadal managed to eliminate the young Canadian, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Head to Head
Djokovic has the edge in H2H meetings with Nadal, 30-28, with their most recent event taking place right here, in Paris, in the last year’s semis, when Novak won, 3-1. Though, Nadal leads 7-2 at Garros, and two of his three defats here against Novak.
Djokovic is coming here following a win in Rome, where he looked pretty well, which can’t be said for Nadal’s last few performances. Yes, Rafa didn’t lose a set in the opening two rounds, but he had weaker rivals than Novak. We also believe that the Spaniard’s tough clash against Auger Aliassime left some negative consequences on Nadal’s fatigue, and that is why we bet on Novak’s win.
Pick: Novak -195
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.