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'Rafael Nadal is closer to beating Novak Djokovic on grass than on hard,' says coach

Does Rafael Nadal have a better chance of beating Novak Djokovic on grass or hard courts? The Spaniard's coach has given his views.
Rafael Nadal backhand Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal is 'closer' to beating Novak Djokovic on grass than he is on hardcourts, says coach Francisco Roig.

Nadal and Djokovic have played each other more times than any other rivalry in ATP history, with the latter shading the head-to-head 30-29.

Those 59 matches include four on grass, with them each enjoying two wins. However, Nadal's last win against Djokovic on grass was 14 years ago.

On hardcourts, meanwhile, Djokovic has dominated and won 20 of their 27 matches on that surface. Nadal's last hardcourt win over Djokovic was almost a decade ago.

“He [Nadal] had a few years in which he didn’t play well on grass, but if he’s doing well, there are fewer rivals who can beat him on grass than on hard courts,” Roig told atptour.com

"In that same way, I think he is closer to Djokovic on this surface than on fast [hard courts]. Being difficult to beat on both [surfaces] and considering that he [Djokovic] is the favourite [at Wimbledon], there are more chances to beat him here."

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Surface head-to-head

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Surface head-to-head

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Despite his coaches claims, few would suggest that anyone but Novak Djokovic is the favourite to win Wimbledon this year.

His second round opponent Thanasi Kokkinakis described him as 'perfect' after their match and added: 'If he plays like that, he can't lose at Wimbledon.'

Francisco Roig, though, says that if Rafael Nadal gets the chance to challenge the Serbian on the grass of Wimbledon this year, his approach will be the same as always - and he has plenty of history from which to learn.

“You have no choice but to be aggressive at certain times, and that helps him. Against [Roger] Federer he was too conservative [in 2019].

"I told him, ‘if Federer hits you four flat backhands in a row we won’t win, but if you make him cut the ball… you have a lot of chances of victory'.”

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