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Rafael Nadal doesn’t want to play – Novak Djokovic does,’ says tournament director

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Rafael Nadal is highly unlikely to sign up to play in Vienna later this month despite the best efforts, tournament director Herwig Straka has said.

Straka pulled off a real coup when he persuaded Novak Djokovic to play for the first time since 2007, with the Serbian chasing the bonus ranking points that will secure him the year-end world number one spot.

He had hoped that Nadal could also be enticed to Austria, but he has all but given up on that now.

“I spoke to Rafael Nadal once this week and I don’t think he will come,” Straka told Der Standard.

“It wasn’t a financial issue with Novak Djokovic. The agreement was there quickly, Novak just wanted to play,”

“This would also be the case with Rafael Nadal if he wanted to play.

“[Djokovic wanting the ranking points] was always my speculation, thank God it worked.

He can make 500 free points, so he will definitely be fully motivated.”

Djokovic has however, apparently come with a list of requests, but Straka says he is more than happy to satisfy them.

“Djokovic doesn’t come until the end of the week and has some other requirements.

“So that he can perform perfectly, he has an environment around him, from food to fitness, things that we have to meet, but that’s okay.”

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Some people have a problem with me, but I do not like pretending,’ says Novak Djokovic

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Novak Djokovic says he knows some people have a ‘problem’ with him openly disclosing his ambitions, but it’s not going to stop him.

Djokovic has made secret of the fact he wants to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam record, as well as top the Swiss’ current record for total weeks at world number one.

That attitude is in stark contrast to Federer and Nadal, who both publicly say they only want to enjoy their tennis and records are not important to them.

It brings criticism to Djokovic, who is often accused of arrogance as a result, but he says he is simply being honest.

“I do not feel the same pressure I have felt in the early stages of my career,” Djokovic told the press in Belgrade on Thursday.

“Maybe some people have a problem with me verbalizing my ambitions, but I was raised to be sincere, I do not like pretending.

“I want to end the year as number one and I want to have as big advantage as possible for the first three months of 2021, which would allow me the historic number one, one of the two biggest goals in my career.

“Pressure has been a part of my life for a long time and I’ve learnt how to deal with it,” he said.

“It comes with the territory if you are a top-level athlete and it can also galvanise you. You take physical and mental knocks along the way but it’s all part of the learning curve.

“If I retired now I’d be happy with everything I have achieved but I still enjoy competing and every tournament I enter gives me so much motivation and joy.”

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