Novak Djokovic: ‘Last year I played an amazing tournament, but Rafael Nadal played incredibly’

Novak Djokovic says last year’s French Open final will not influence the match if there is a repeat in the semis this month.

Djokovic and Nadal are, unusually, in the same half of the draw for a Grand Slam, meaning they cannot meet in the final of the tournament for a second successive year.

In October, Nadal handed Djokovic a rare humbling, completely overpowering him to win a 13th French Open title.

However, they also recently met in the final of the Rome Masters, with the contest proving to be much closer, and Djokovic says he will never be writing himself off before playing anyone.

“Rafa is always going to give his best, quality tennis, particularly on clay,” Djokovic said, as quoted by Sasa Ozmo.

“I don’t know, some matches were close, some he dominated. I wasn’t meeting his level, and his level on clay is always there. Like that, you have no chance.

“Last year, I played an amazing tournament, but he played incredibly in the final.

“In Rome, it was quite even, he won, but it gives me good sensations prior to potential match-up here. But it’s long ways, we are both focusing solely on the next match.”

Djokovic will start his campaign against Tennys Sandgren in the evening session on Tuesday, and he admits that gives him mixed feelings.

“I have a good record playing night sessions. I don’t mind it, it’s just that I am a bit sad because there won’t be any crowd because of the curfew.

“It won’t be fun, but hopefully I can win and see the crowd next time.”

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