Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Nadal: ‘I was surprised to see Djokovic affected so much by tension at US Open’

Toni Nadal says he was ‘surprised’ to see Novak Djokovic overwhelmed by his nerves in the final of the US Open.

Djokovic has had a stunning year, winning three of the four majors and only losing the other in the final.

That defeat came at a heavy cost, with what would have been a history-making calendar Grand Slam agonizingly slipping away.

However, while no one was surprised to see Daniil Medvedev claim his maiden major, the clear mental struggles on court of Djokiovic during the match has shocked many – including Toni Nadal.

“The enormous weight of all that was at stake for him made it impossible for him to resist Daniil’s relentless level of play,” Toni Nadal said.

“And I have to admit, I was surprised to see him so affected.

“He may have been a little less resilient lately, but we all know his tremendous ability to withstand moments of maximum tension with strength and focus.

“Coaches may prepare their players, try to cover all aspects of the game, the different approaches to a game, improve technique, polish shots and physical endurance,

“There is something that cannot be done such as always be controlled: the control of emotions at certain moments of a match or, in this case, at the decisive moment of an entire sports career.”

Despite the tough defeat and the loss of the calendar Grand Slam at the final hurdle, Nadal has tipped Djokovic to bounce back quickly.

“Djokovic knew he was facing the most crucial match of his life, the meeting that was to determine the much-talked-about debate in tennis: who is the best player in the history of our sport,” Nadal said.

“It is certain that this defeat will be painful for the Serbian but he will recover.”