Novak Djokovic Discovers His Clay Legs in Madrid Against Rafael Nadal

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Novak Djokovic Discovers His Clay Legs in Madrid Against Rafael Nadal
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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4 at the Madrid Masters on May 8, 2011.

Was it expected?

Yes and no.

Yes, because Nole is on an unbeaten streak, second only to McEnroe’s 42 in 1984.

No, because it was in Spain, on clay and against Rafael Nadal.

Nadal recovered some of his lost aura on returning to the soft mud that he revels in, but Djokovic had the momentum of a juggernaut.Unstoppable, you say? The man seems unbreakable.

Doubters termed Novak a coward when he pulled up injured at the start of the clay-court season.

Rafa, on the other hand, needed no urging to cut like a swathe through his opponents for two consecutive weeks of restored pomp.

Djokovic has, however, discovered the strength and resolve to match his hard years of preparation for this moment. The form he has exhibited so far this year could easily propel him as far as, or at least close to emulating Nadal’s fabulous 2010.

Dare anyone say otherwise?

The Spaniard’s reign as No. 1 could end before Paris.

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Petra Kvitova: Not a quitter!

Nadal's fans can trot out the same excuse Djokovic supporters gave for Nole’s 2010 US Open final loss—taking on a tough foe after playing Roger Federer is a challenge indeed.

Nadal needed no cajoling and handed the Serb his due.

“He’s playing at a really high level. We’ve got to accept that. When someone is better than you, there is nothing you can do other than congratulate him and that’s it and look forward to your next tournament and try to keep up, see what you’re missing, what you’re doing right and face forward with the correct attitude and with mental strength.

"You have to be cold, mentally speaking, and you have to look for solutions. Try to be better, try to practice and next time I’ll try to do better,” said Nadal.

Federer can take some comfort from the fact that he at least makes it difficult for his conquerors to have any further success after their exertions against him.

Even so, the race for the French Open men's title has narrowed down to two red-hot contenders in Nadal and Djokovic.

The women’s tour, on the other hand, never fails to surprise—this time, with the absence of Serena Williams and now Kim Clijsters.

Julia Goerges continued her hoodoo over World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, repeating her Stuttgart win in the third round.

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Francesca Schiavone

In turn, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka subdued Goerges (in the semifinals) only for Czech Petra Kvitova to prevail in Madrid on Sunday.

The romance of Francesca Schiavone’s triumph last year lingers on in the air—could there be another fairytale ending in Paris this summer?

Quote of the Day: 

When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained. – Edward R. Murrow

This article is also featured on Make Time For Sports

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