Rafael Nadal, despite being the defending champion at the US Open, skipped the tournament due to safety concerns. Instead, the Spaniard was busy preparing for the clay tournaments; the surface he is best at.
According to world number one Novak Djokovic, the decision to skip the US Open can work in the advantage of the Spaniard. Besides, this will also make Nadal an even stronger opponent to beat at the clay surface.
“He would still be the number one favorite to win on clay tournament” – Djokovic
Djokovic, in conversation with the reporters at the Italian Open, said, “Rafa decided to stay at home and practice. And that will surely give him more advantage.” Additionally, Djokovic also said, ” But even if he did not practice for that long, he would still be the number one favorite to win on clay tournament, in Roland Garros or any other tournament. This is because he is Rafa.”
Besides, the Serbian also added, “Playing on clay, he (Nadal) is the ultimate challenge.”
Additionally, Nadal is called the “King Of Clay”, with his 12 out of 19 Grand Slam titles coming at the red dirt of French Open. With such amazing records, Nadal is widely considered as one of the finest players at the clay in the history of the game.
Nadal will have a tricky first match at the Italian Open with the US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta, he is most likely to meet Tsitsipas in the semis. Djokovic, the top-seeded player in the tournament, a four-time Italian Open winner, will open his campaign against the Italian wildcard Salvatore Curso.
Djokovic, who was disqualified from the US Open, would like to forget all about it and win the ATP 1000 Masters in Rome.
Nadal, who is the defending champion here will also look for his chances coming into a competitive tournament after 7 long months. It is most likely that both the players will face each other, in what would be an amazing nail-biting final.