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Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘His blood will be boiling’ declares former top 10 rival on Novak Djokovic and Slam race

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Fabio Fognini believes that Novak Djokovic will be itching to match Rafael Nadal on 21 Major crowns after the Spaniard’s unlikely Australian Open title.ย 

The Italian, who peaked at world number nine in July 2019, is eager to see how the so-called ‘GOAT Race’ will unfold from now as Nadal and Djokovic eye the next chance at a Slam title at Roland Garros in May.

The world number one will have supreme motivation to oust Nadal in his own ‘house’ at the clay Major, Fognini suggested.

“As I know him, I think he has blood boiling in his veins,” Fognini said of Djokovic when speaking to La Gazetta dello Sport.

“On the one hand, he will be almost happy, because these are the challenges that motivate him.

“He must have thought, ‘Great, you won [Nadal]…see you again in Paris.’

“[Djokovic] is very competitive, he has shown it over the years.

“But there, if Rafa wants to, he could also win Paris and score 22.”

Nadal has won an incredible 13 French Open titles in 17 appearances there, amassing a 105-3 win-loss record, a win percentage of 97%.

Djokovic has inflicted two of those three defeats on Nadal, once in the quarter-finals in 2015 and again in the semi-finals of last year’s tournament, before the Serb went on to claim his second Roland Garros title.

As such, the 34-year-old is the only man to have beaten Nadal twice on the clay in Paris, and one would be wise not to bet against him possibly doing it again, especially with so much history on the line.

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Novak Djokovic US Open 2021
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