The face and the cross

Rafa Nadal digests his defeat at home before Roland Garros while Novak Djokovic plays this Monday (17:00, #Vamos) the final in Rome.


Rafa Nadal is already at home, in Manacor, where he digested his defeat in the 1000 Masters in Rome against Diego Schwartzman, a setback in his preparation that he did not expect after a very promising start to the tournament with victories and good play against good rivals like Pablo Carreño and Dusan Lajovic. The Spaniard will arrive this week in Paris, to start preparing for Roland Garros, with little baggage from three games played on clay and problems with his service.

“It is a special and unpredictable year. I did a couple of things right and others wrong. At least I fought to the end. I have to fix the service issue and I know how to do it, ”Nadal promised after falling at the Foro Italico. After spending 200 days without competing between the final in Acapulco and the Internazionali, the world number two prescribes work for the recovery of his tennis: "I must continue to train with the right attitude to try to have the opportunity to be prepared."

Meanwhile, his greatest rival, Novak Djokovic, does not experience the best sensations in terms of game and mentality, but although he advances in fits and starts, with suffering and nerves, this Monday (17:00, #Vamos) he will play the final in Rome after beat on Sunday in two sets, but after more than two hours of battle (7-5 and 6-3), the Norwegian Casper Ruud, a dedicated student of the Rafa Nadal Academy. "You can tell that he trains there, because he follows a similar pattern of play, with a lot of spin and a really impressive drive," he said with a smile about his opponent, the world number one, who can score 400 points if he is champion. "I hope to get my hands on the trophy," he wished. It could be his fifth crown in the Eternal City and he will fight with it against Schwartzman, who also beat Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7 and 7-6 (4). Against Ruud, Nole did not hit a stray ball or break a racket, but argued with the chair umpire and was warned for speaking an obscenity in his language, Serbo-Croatian. "The warning (notice) was deserved", he acknowledged.

Djokovic is not in a good mood, but he does seem somewhat more prepared than Nadal in terms of competition after reaching four finals in 2020 (Australia, Dubai, Cincinnati and Rome) and despite his slip and consequent disqualification at the US Open, which he did not it means that he is a favorite to win in Paris, not even for the Balkan tennis player himself. “You always have to put Rafa at the top of the list,” he warns.

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