2013 French Open

Novak Djokovic Isn't Playing Well Enough to Beat Rafael Nadal at French Open

ROME, ITALY - MAY 17:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during his quarter final match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic on day six of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2013 at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre  on May 17, 2013 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 23, 2013

Boris Becker recently came out and said he's picking Novak Djokovic to defeat Rafael Nadal in the 2013 French Open, according to ESPN UK.

But, with respect to the legend, how can you logically say that?

While Djokovic is the No. 1 player in the world, he's not perfect. We've seen that, last year and this year (in 2011, he was pretty much perfect). He's lost to Grigor Dimitrov and Tomas Berdych in his last two tournaments. His loss to Berdych at the Rome Masters was only his second loss to the Czech in 15 career matches. The last time Berdych beat him? Their third matchup in 2010.

On the flip side, Nadal is playing out of his mind since missing the second half of 2012 with tendinitis. There's also that small matter of the Spaniard being a seven-time champion at Roland Garros (a French Open record). 

Yes, Djokovic has beaten Nadal on clay. In fact, he beat Nadal in Monaco this year. 

But, overall, Nadal still comes out on top the majority of the time on the surface. He's 12-3 on clay against the Serb. Two of those three losses came in 2011, when Djokovic was simply in the zone.

There's another thing, though. While beating Nadal on clay is certainly an accomplishment, beating him at the French Open is a different thing entirely. Do you know how many matches Nadal has lost at Roland Garros in his career? Try one. That's in 53 matches at the French Open.

Nadal is 36-2 this year with six singles titles. He hasn't had that many singles titles since 2010. And, for you statisticians out there, he ranks second on tour in service games won (percentage), first in return games won, fifth in break points saved and ninth in break points converted, via ATPWorldTour.com.

Obviously, Becker is just going by how he feels. But if you are looking at who will win the 2013 French Open logically, you simply can't pick anyone else but Nadal. Heck, Djokovic is even coming off an ankle injury sustained at the Davis Cup.

Djokovic will certainly test Nadal if they meet at Roland Garros this year, but don't expect the Serb to stop the tennis great's run.


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