After a couple of early exits on clay this spring, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic restored the order in Rome, where they have been the players to beat in the past 16 years. Nadal and Djokovic battled in the final after they passed challenging obstacles in the previous rounds, with the Spaniard beating the Serb to join him on 36 Masters 1000 crowns. Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli understands that Novak doesn’t want to face Rafa at Roland Garros in two weeks, stating that the Spaniard is still the top favorite to claim the Parisian crown.
On the other hand, Bartoli wouldn’t put all the money on Nadal in a possible clash against Djokovic, reminding that Novak has found the form in Rome that he should use in Paris too. Novak claimed one Roland Garros title in 2016 and couldn’t add the second last October.
Marion Bartoli shared her thoughts about Roland Garros, Nadal, Djokovic.
Facing each other in the title clash, Nadal took down Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes, dropping serve once and dominated the return to leave Novak far behind. Eager to save the season and extend his Roland Garros streak, Nadal overpowered Djokovic in every segment to wrap up a perfect Roland Garros and claim the title without losing a set for his 20th Major.
“I think that Novak Djokovic will really hope that he doesn’t draw Rafa in Paris. Still, I believe that the Rome final was exciting because even though Djokovic had two matches to play the day before, he was still right there and competing a lot better than what he did in the Roland Garros final a few months back. I think that was a big signal for him just to see that he has the level, and if he goes to a five-setter, he is right there with Rafa on clay. I think that was Novak’s main point after skipping Madrid and not arriving with a lot of confidence on clay. He didn’t do well in Monte Carlo and Belgrade, and Rome was really a big question mark whether he would still play well on clay this year. I believe that Rome was crucial for his confidence ahead of Roland Garros, knowing he can do well in Paris,” Marion Bartoli said.