Goran Ivanisevic stirred up quite the storm when he spoke about Novak Djokovic’s chances against Rafael Nadal ahead of the French Open final. The Croat declared that the then 12-time Roland Garros champion had 'no chance' to beat Djokovic given the conditions at the tournament this year.
Not only did Rafael Nadal prove Ivanisevic wrong, but he did so in the most emphatic fashion imaginable. The Spaniard dropped just seven games while inflicting a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 beatdown on Novak Djokovic.
Not one to stay quiet, Toni Nadal has now responded to Ivanisevic's comments about his nephew Rafael Nadal. The 59-year-old put across his thoughts in his column for El Pais, stating that the Croat’s words and gesture had left him surprised.
Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni hits out at Goran Ivanisevic
Goran Ivanisevic seemed extremely certain of himself and Novak Djokovic when he announced just days before the final that Rafael Nadal would the clear underdog against his ward. He cited a few factors for his prediction, which included the much talked about conditions at Roland Garros this year.
What happened in reality, however, was the total opposite; it was Novak Djokovic who had no answer to Rafael Nadal’s perfectly executed gameplay. The Spaniard didn't give an inch to the Serb throughout the final, as evidenced by the fact that he lost serve just one time.
Toni Nadal took this opportunity to subtly hit back at Goran Ivanisevic in defense of his nephew, highlighting the reality of the situation to remind the former Wimbledon winner of his perceived error in judgement.
“Ivanisevic, in his bombastic predictions, said that his pupil was fully prepared both tactically and mentally to face this final,” Toni wrote. “Reality has shown that it should not be like that.”
Goran Ivanisevic in his comments had not only negated Rafael Nadal’s chances against the Serb but also thrown shade on the Spaniard by saying that Djokovic had got into his head. Toni Nadal did not take that lying down either.
The 59-year-old expressed his bemusement that a champion of the caliber of Goran Ivanisevic could be so 'negative' in his assessment.
“It surprises me that a great champion like him falls sometimes, and more frequently lately, into such a negative gesture,” Toni continued. “I have always understood that taking care of body language has a double effect: towards oneself and towards the rival.”Published 13 Oct 2020, 18:00 IST