Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic opened with a win at the 2010 ATP Finals. The two rivals met for the 23rd time in the second round, with the Spaniard triumphing 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 52 minutes. Protocol.
That’s how Rafa Novak struck for the sixteenth time, maintaining a perfect score in London. Djokovic played well in the first match against Berdych and made a great start against Nadal. Still, the Serb suffered a right eye irritation in game eight, for which he had to take medical time-out and change his contact lenses several times.
Despite his best efforts, Novak couldn’t improve his eyesight, playing the second set with almost one eye and not standing a chance against such a strong opponent. Novak’s time-out off the pitch lasted seven minutes and Rafa said nothing as he waited for his rival to return to the pitch.
However, when the action resumed, the Spaniard was asked to speed up the serve a bit and he argued with the chair umpire about it. After the match, Rafa explained that he didn’t mind Novak’s long break. However, he didn’t feel comfortable when the referee stormed him two or three seconds down on the service time.
Nadal saved four out of five break chances and converted 43% of return points. He broke four times to seal the deal in straight sets, beating Djokovic for the second time this season. Novak made 30 unforced errors as he couldn’t control his shots.
He lost ground early in the opening set, going all or nothing as the only option.
Rothenberg opens to Djokovic
Journalist Ben Rothenberg painted a bleak picture of Novak Djokovic’s prospects in the near future given the Serb’s lack of match practice.
“I’ve seen how slowly he’s come back to the clay court season this year when he didn’t play against Indian Wells and Miami,” Rothenberg said. “He got off to a very slow start on the clay and we’ll see. I think he will play some European tournaments this autumn.
I would imagine he’ll get some matches. But in this imaginary scenario, which is like the next big tournament, I don’t think he has time to regain confidence. Also, he’s not legally allowed to go to Australia at the moment, sure we’ll see if he even gets there first.
Doesn’t matter, it’s a hypothetical question,” Rothenberg said. “I don’t know if he’ll still have the same feeling when he comes back after everything that’s happened this year, it could be a different kind of mental mood for him in Melbourne in the future.”