The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 12, 2013

Nadal vs. Djokovic has now become THE RIVALRY

Nadal leads head-to-head series, 22-15


Nadal vs. Federer provides a contrast in styles. Nadal vs. Djokovic is a matchup of mirror images.

Both are terrific serve returners. Both cover every inch of the court. Both force opponents to hit shot after shot after shot, which is why they wind up playing points that can last more than 50 strokes, as happened Monday. Both can switch from defense to offense with a twist of the wrist.

“Between Novak and me, every point is fighting, every point is (a) long rally, every point is more strategy. This is very tough,” said Nadal, who is 60-3 with 10 titles in 2013. “So all the matches are very special, very tough.”

As of Tuesday, No. 1 Djokovic still leads No. 2 Nadal in the ATP rankings. But both men know that, by year’s end, Nadal is likely to regain the edge there, too.

And tennis fans can look forward to more back-and-forth between these two.

“Sometimes, I really don’t know how I am able to beat him,” Nadal said with a laugh. “But maybe he feels something similar, and that’s the most important thing. I know that I am playing at my limit when I play against him. But I have big hopes that he feels something similar.”

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