Djokovic very happy, but what if he loses vs Nadal in semis?

Djokovic IW 15 TR MALT1656

 

AT THE ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS IN LONDON – For the past two months, Novak Djokovic has been asked whether or not he is truly happy when he wins, and can he continue to be very pleased even if he loses?

What if Djokovic goes down against Rafael Nadal in the semifinals at the ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday, ending the year when he would no longer be dominated?

What if?

But at least on Friday, he is grinning from ear to ear.

The Serbian has rarely lost this year and the only time that he was down in the dumps for a few minutes was when he lost against Stan Wawrinka in the final of Roland Garros. Had he upended against say Roger Federer or Nadal, he might have been upset longer, because while he is very respectful about both those them, they are not close friends off the court. But apparently, he and Wawrinka are. It’s possible they could play each other in the final. If the Swiss upends Djokovic once again, maybe he will just shrug and continue to be a happy man

“I feel like (I have) a very special relationship with Stan, I think like no other top player, honestly,” Djokovic said. “I do appreciate that. I do enjoy that good relationship we have. I think that was strengthened even more after Roland Garros final.”

It appears that it was. He won Wimbledon in an epic contest over Federer, dropped against Andy Murray and Federer at Montreal and Cincy, but then he won the US Open, by edging Federer once again. Then he won everything, at Beijing, Shanghai and Paris/Bercy. He was on-fire and he wasn’t sputtering at all.

Somewhat amazingly, he lost to Federer here in London at the O2 on Tuesday, but he picked right up, beating Tomas Berdych. Now he is in the semi of Saturday against Nadal.

If he loses that contest, maybe it will be a super disappointment. Or not.

The two have clashed so many times, with Nadal leading head to head 23-22. They have been so close on court, with so many intense rivalry matches. They are both so fast that they can go on for hours, like at the 2012 Australian Open final, won by Djokovic in 5 hours and 53 minutes. They never went down until the very end.

“In terms of amount of matches played, maybe some matches that were long and epic was against Rafa,” Djokovic. “I played against him longer matches, more exciting matches. Grand Slam finals I think were more exciting with Roger [Federer], especially in the last couple of years. So both of them. It’s been amazing rivalries I had with both of them.”

This year, obviously, Djokovic has beaten Nadal every time this year. Nadal is getting better and better, having a decent fall, going fairly deep every time out. Given that since 2005 until now, after the summers ended, his body fell apart. But, this season, after he returned from his injury in the second half of 2014, he has been injury free.

However, against Djokovic, he has been quicker, more powerful, smarter and secure. Last month, they faced off in the Beijing final and Djokovic clocked him 6-2, 6-2.

The court at the ATP Finals is fairy fast, but slower than it used to be. Nadal has won three matches, beating Wawrinka, Andy Murray and now David Ferrer, who he out-lasted him 6-7 6-3 6-4 in more than two-and-a-half hours on Friday.

Djokovic is favored, but eventually, if he is 100 percent physically and mentally, Nadal will get him one day. But on Saturday, if he isn’t substantially aggressive, there is no way he can win. Djokovic can hit the ball back until he gets a good look off a short ball and he will swing away.

The Spaniard has to take some risks.

But maybe he won’t.

“I going to try to keep playing the way I am playing,” Nadal said. “Then maybe is not enough. But I cannot go crazy. I cannot go on the court and thinking that I have to do something that I cannot do it. I going to try to play my game. I going to try to play aggressive. I going to try to be strong mentally. I know the surface is better for him than for me obviously.  He plays in a very good surface for him. He plays a tournament that he won already couple of times. He come here after having an amazing season. All the positive things are for him.

“But for me is a motivation. I am here to try my best tomorrow. Then if is not enough what I have today, it’s fine. I going to keep working to keep improving the things that I need to do to try to be in better shape next time that I going to compete against him. Tomorrow is an opportunity for me to play well, to see how far I am.”

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