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Carlos Moya says Novak Djokovic & Rafael Nadal are "born survivors", expects Djokovic to cause Nadal some problems in RG SF

Carlos Moya with Rafael Nadal
Carlos Moya with Rafael Nadal
ANALYST

Carlos Moya recently gave his thoughts on Novak Djokovic ahead of the Serb's Roland Garros semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal. Moya believes Djokovic has shown a few signs of weakness in Paris thus far, but that he remains incredibly tough to beat.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will lock horns in the last four of the French Open later on Friday, with the winner set to face either Alexander Zverev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Djokovic has not enjoyed the smoothest ride to the semifinals; he trailed Lorenzo Musetti by two sets in the fourth round and was also given a tough time by Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals.

In that context, Carlos Moya, Rafael Nadal's coach, believes Djokovic is not infallible. The Spaniard even went on to suggest that Musetti may have defeated the top-ranked if he had been more experienced.

"It is difficult to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament," Moya said. "I see it with ups and downs, moments of doubts, we saw the match with Musetti and if Musetti had more experience ... it put him in serious difficulties. Berrettini also put him in trouble."

Moya hailed the ability of the Serb to find a way to grind out wins even when he's not playing his best tennis. The 1998 Roland Garros champion believes Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal's chances can never be written off until the last point has been played.

"It is clear that he is Djokovic and he always finds a way to escape," Moya added. "We are talking about two players who find a way to escape. They are two born survivors, who until you shake hands you cannot trust that you have won."

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal met in the Roland Garros final last year. The Serb was handed one of the worst defeats of his career, managing just seven games in total.

Rafael Nadal after beating Novak Djokovic in the 2020 Roland Garros final
Rafael Nadal after beating Novak Djokovic in the 2020 Roland Garros final

But Carlos Moya has brushed off the possibility of an encore. The Spaniard believes Nadal's performance last year was flawless and almost impossible to replicate.

Instead, he expects a match similar to the Italian Open final a few weeks ago, when Nadal battled to a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 win against the Serb.

"We do not expect a match like this (2020 final), Rafa is going to have difficulties," Moya said. "The level of the 2020 final will be difficult to overcome. It was a master class on how to play tennis on clay.
"I expect more of a Roma-type match, with tough moments. But we trust Rafa a lot. If there's someone capable of playing at such a level, it's Rafa Nadal, it's Roland Garros, it's Philippe-Chatrier and you have to have confidence."

We know how Novak Djokovic plays and how good he is: Rafael Nadal's coach Carlos Moya

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Carlos Moya believes Novak Djokovic will have to try and match Rafael Nadal's explosive movement when the two lock horns on Friday as the Serb's previous tactics have failed.

"Just as we try to move quickly, to make the game more difficult, I suppose he is going to move (quickly as well) because what he has done in recent years has not worked very well for him on clay," Moya said.

The former World No. 1 stressed Rafael Nadal's camp are well aware of the threat Novak Djokovic poses. According to Moya, the player that executes his strategies better on Fridaywill come out on top.

"We know very well how Djokovic plays and we know very well how good he is," Moya continued. "Whoever can implement his game will have more chances of winning. Rafa knows that it will be mentally demanding the entire game."
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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