Djokovic is the only one who has found solutions against Nadal on clay : Eye of the Coach #55

In the latest episode of Eye of the Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou breaks down how Novak Djokovic can be so effective on clay against Rafael Nadal.

May 30, 2022
The figures

Heading into their quarter-final showdown on Tuesday night, Rafael Nadal is 7-2 lifetime against Novak Djokovic at the French Open. That may be a favorable record for Nadal, but keep in mind that he is 102-1 in his Roland-Garros career against everyone else. It should also be noted that they have split their last four encounters at two victories apiece.

What makes Djokovic so dangerous on clay — both in general and specifically against Nadal? In the latest episode of Eye of the Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou provides answers. The Frenchman focuses on Djokovic’s defensive skills and his ability to play offensive tennis from inside the baseline, pointing to those factors as the most important in matchups with Nadal.

Novak Djokovic, Roland-Garros 2022
Novak Djokovic, Roland-Garros 2022 © AI / Reuters / Panoamic

Key moments

0.14 – Patrick Mouratoglou claims that most of Nadal’s opponents are mentally defeated before they even begin a clay-court match against the Spaniard. He says that isn’t the case with Djokovic, who has always had belief.

0.31 – The coach explains that Djokovic’s defensive skills are especially important in a matchup with Nadal and the Serb can turn defense into offense better than anyone else in the world.

0.45 – Nadal pushes almost all of his opponents way back behind the baseline, but Djokovic manages to step inside the baseline and consistently play aggressive tennis.

1.39 – Mouratoglou: Court positioning “is definitely going to be the main key of the match.”

2.02 – On the same subject, Mouratoglou emphasises the important of the serve. Whichever player serves at a higher percentage and with better placement will take control of rallies early and be able to dictate.

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