Former ATP star reveals the key for Novak Djokovic against Rafael Nadal
Former world number four Brad Gilbert has revealed what he thinks the key is for Novak Djokovic to claim victory over Rafael Nadal in their quarter-final showdown.
The match everyone was waiting for at Roland Garros 2022 is finally set as Djokovic downed Diego Schwartzman before Nadal clawed his way back against Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The quarter-final clash is a repeat of last years semi-final, with Djokovic taking the spoils as he denied Nadal a shot at a 21st Grand Slam title.
Instead, Djokovic won and clinched his 19th Major crown in the final before adding a 20th at Wimbledon soon after.
Of course, Nadal did then reach the elusive 21 mark by winning the 2022 Australian Open in Djokovic’s absence.
The pair’s match on Tuesday will be an incredible 59th meeting between the duo, their 18th at a Major and 10th at the Paris Slam.
That makes Roland Garros their most frequent arena of battle, now one ahead of the Rome Masters where they have faced off on nine occasions.
Discussing the hugely anticipated match, ATP veteran Brad Gilbert has revealed what he believes is the key is for Djokovic if he is to repeat last year’s feat and move into the semi-finals.
In a recent interview, Gilbert told reporters, “Djoker just quietly has lifted his game.
“He’s won 22 sets on the trot [dating back to his Rome title run]. He’s back to kind of being normal Djoker.
“[Diego] Schwartzman’s a hell of a player and he just wiped him out. Obviously he’s not Rafa, but that shows how sharp Djokovic has been.”
“He’s back to starting really fast and he’s playing some seriously good ball.
“I think that the key will be how he can attack the Rafa forehand. Because I think when he plays his best against Rafa, he’s able to attack Rafa’s forehand.”
The American also heaped praise on Nadal as he admitted that he expects another classic to take place on Tuesday.
“The most obvious thing for Rafa — he hadn’t really been tested at the French, and then on Sunday he goes four hours and 20 minutes. He looked good physically, didn’t have any of the foot problems that he’s been having, so that was a good sign.
“It’s a 48-hour turnaround and that was a physical match, but it was needed because FAA played some serious ball.
“The tennis fan in me, I just hope we see one of those titanic matches like we saw last year.
“Sweaty palms, incredible tennis. That’s what I’m rooting for. Then it’s a win-win for tennis.”
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