Novak Djokovic said that he understands Rafael Nadal’s confidence issues, having experienced how difficult it is to be confident year after year. The world No.1 has heard that the Spaniard said he is affected by nerves, with the Serb having faced similar challenges.
“More or less every single match you go through these moments,” Djokovic said. “We are all humans and we all go through certain emotional ups and downs. Depending on the, I’d say, quality and intensity of the match, that’s how your emotions kind of wave during the play.”
The two have had plenty of high-quality matches with each other. Nadal leads Djokovic 23-19 head-to-head. The two played three times last year, with Djokovic beating Nadal in Miami and Madrid, but the 14-time Grand Slam champion took down the Serbian when it counted most in the finals of Roland Garros. The two haven’t played this year.
“Of course I understand what he’s talking about because I’m playing for many years on this high level and I know how much pressure and expectations you have,” Djokovic said. “So I respect what [Nadal] has achieved in his career so far very much because I understand what it takes to be there, and what it takes achieve as much as he did. He has so much experience and so much success for only [being] 28 years.”
Djokovic said he sees Nadal getting through this period. “I’m sure he wants to play for many more years,” he said. “It’s normal to have some periods of crisis, if you want to call it that, where you sometimes feel more doubt than confidence in important moments and you lose a couple of matches.”