NOVAK DJOKOVIC suffered a four-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the French Open quarter-final on Tuesday.
Novak Djokovic’s coach has claimed that Rafael Nadal was always going to beat his charge after the world No 1 suffered a four-set loss in their French Open quarter-final. Goran Ivanisevic has backtracked after stating Djokovic was “ready” for their 59th meeting and now says he always knew Nadal would win.
Djokovic crashed out of the French Open in Tuesday night’s quarter-final to Nadal, who needed four hour and 12 minutes to defeat the top seed 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6(4). One person who was bigging up the match and claiming it would become the “best quarter-final in French Open history” was former world No 1 and Djokovic’s coach Ivanisevic.
The Croat had claimed that both Nadal and Djokovic were “ready” for the meeting and simply said “we will see,” instead of picking a favourite. “He’s ready for best of 10, if they played 10 sets tomorrow,” he said on the eve of the 59th meeting between the rivals.
But Ivanisevic has now backtracked and claimed that he always thought the world No 5 would reach the final, meaning he had to beat the Serb en route. “When I saw the draw, I said that Nadal will reach the finals, which means that he will knock out Novak,” the 2001 Wimbledon champion said.
“For me, there is only one favourite of Roland Garros and that is Rafael Nadal. Even with the foot injury he had in Rome. My opinion will always be like that.” The retired pro had also talked up Djokovic’s spirit ahead of the clash and hoped the crowd would be against his charge.
Speaking to Serbian reporters ahead of the quarter-final, he said: “I am glad that 80% of the crowd will cheer against Novak. He’s got a reason to get angry and to fight even more.” Djokovic was booed arriving onto Court Philippe-Chatrier on Tuesday night and the crowd jeered him again when he hit the net in frustration.
But it did not have the desired effect, as Djokovic lost a 5-2 lead in the fourth set, with Nadal forcing a tiebreak and winning it 7-4 to seal victory. And the two-time champion in Paris was gracious in defeat, admitting his opponent deserved to win in the end.
“I had my chances. You know, I had my chances in the fourth. Served for the set, couple set points,” he said. “Yeah, just one or two shots. Could have taken me into a fifth. Then it’s really anybody’s match. But again, he showed why he’s a great champion. You know, staying there mentally tough and finishing the match the way he did. Congrats to him and his team. No doubt he deserved it.”