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Novak Djokovic sends Rafael Nadal warning over French Open after Italian Open triumph

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Novak Djokovic won a record 36th Masters title at the Italian Open by convincingly seeing off Argentine Diego Schwartzman in straight sets. However, it was his comments after the final which caused a stir as he warned the best was yet to come ahead of next month’s French Open.

After claiming yet another title, Djokovic celebrated by sending Rafael Nadal a serious warning ahead of the French Open.

Despite a shaky start, the Serb won his fifth Italian Open title without too much difficult in the end, winning 7-5, 6-3.

The 1,000 socially distanced fans in Rome witnessed a master at work, playing in his first match since being defaulted in controversial style from the US Open.

And the world no.1 left no doubts as to whether he would continue to dominate the sport as he fired a warning to fierce rival and French Open favourite Nadal.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I haven’t played my best tennis,” said Djokovic. “I still have a few gears and I’ll need them to get a good result at Roland Garros.

“I feel good. Of course this gives me even more confidence that is absolutely necessary for a Grand Slam.”

While he also added of his performance on whole: “I’m super pleased.

“It was a great week, a very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis this week but I think I found my best tennis in the decisive moments.

“I’m proud I managed to needed to find that fifth gear when I needed to.”

Djokovic also passed a record set by Nadal for reaching the most Masters 1000 finals, taking his total up to 52, above Nadal and Federer who have reached 51 and 50 respectively.

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“Good Person”: Rafael Nadal Opens up on His Relationship With Rival Novak Djokovic

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Many tennis fans wonder how Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic get along outside the tennis court. Their conduct towards each other on the tennis court is always respectful, and that translates outside the court as well, as admitted by Nadal. The Spaniard spoke about his relationship with Djokovic, whom he called a good person.

“I have a good relationship with him. Is a good person. We must relativize things between us,”  Nadal said, in a recent interview, throwing light on his camaraderie with Djokovic.

There was also speculation among fans as to what Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic spoke about at the end of their French Open 2020 final. Interestingly, it was one of the most one-sided battles they have played over the years. However, Nadal said that Djokovic, with whom he shares a strong relationship, simply congratulated him and nothing more.

Rafael Nadal understands why Novak Djokovic did not say much

I could not talk to him. He congratulated me on the track and that’s it. It is normal,” Nadal said. He said he understands that Djokovic was not in a mood to talk, as no one usually is, after a heartbreaking loss.

When you lose a game like that, you don’t really want to talk. I understand it,” Nadal added.

Nadal avenged his one-sided loss in the 2019 Australian Open final against Djokovic. The two men also shared a respectful exchange during the trophy ceremony post their match. Nadal lauded Djokovic and said he hopes to keep facing him, further adding to their already great rivalry.

What you’re doing in tennis is very very special. Hope to keep facing you [Djokovic] on the court for the next couple of years,” Nadal said to Djokovic.

The mutual respect between the two stars

Despite not having a conversation with Nadal after the match, Djokovic spoke highly of Nadal in his post-match presser. Djokovic highlighted why Nadal is a great champion. He also admitted that it was one of those days where Nadal was simply the better player and there was not much he could do to tame the ‘King of Clay’.

I was also thinking that these conditions are more favorable to me. I was feeling great throughout the tournament playing. […] But, yeah, I mean, Rafa has proven everybody wrong. That’s why he’s a great champion. He just played a fantastic match today,” he said.

The two champions are expected to resume their rivalry at the ATP Finals next month. While they will not face each other in the Round Robin stage, the anticipation of another Nadal-Djokovic final is already running high.

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