Rafael Nadal played some absolutely spellbinding tennis on Sunday to win his record 13th French Open title in straight sets over rival Novak Djokovic. Nadal's 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win was in sharp contrast to people's expectations of a close battle between the two best players in the world currently.
While there was no doubt that Nadal played one of the best ever matches of his career, several tennis experts and fans pointed out that Novak Djokovic wasn't his usual self during the final. The Serb himself said later that he was simply outplayed, but not everyone is convinced.
In the aftermath of the lopsided result, well-renowned coach Patrick Mouratoglou talked about how differently Novak Djokovic behaved in the match, and why it was unusual to see him remain calm even when things weren't going his way.
Patrick Mouratoglou breaks down Novak Djokovic's mindset during his French Open final loss to Rafael Nadal
Patrick Mouratoglou is the coach of Serena Williams, and he also works with Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Frenchman is well-versed with the mindset of tennis players, and he shed some light on Novak Djokovic too in that regard.
While crediting Nadal for playing an incredible match and adapting to the different conditions in Paris this year, Mouratoglou opined that Djokovic was not his usual self in the final.
"Definitely, Novak Djokovic was not the Novak we know," Mouratoglou said. "We have all seen him play many Grand Slam finals of course and win so many of them. But the last one I remember between those two was at the Australian Open."
The Frenchman talked in detail about the difference in Novak Djokovic's demeanor during the 2019 Australian Open final and the Roland Garros decider on Sunday. According to Mouratolgou, the Serb was extremely confident in Melbourne, which is what made him so hard to beat. But in Paris, that confidence was nowhere to be seen.
"I was there. I literally saw them enter the court. I was a few meters from them. When I saw them enter the court, I saw Novak Djokovic and I thought 'Wow Novak is gonna destroy him'. And I thought that because of Novak's attitude. You could feel his confidence and his will to enter the court to just destroy. When he is like this, I think he is the best player of all and whenever he enters the final like that, he is almost impossible to stop," Mouratoglou said.
"But today, it was not that Novak, it was a player that did not want to miss and was missing. He didn't enter the court with the same mindset as the one we know," he went on.
Mouratoglou also pointed out that several things can affect the mindset of players before or during a match, which is what makes the sport so interesting.
"It's not only about entering the court and playing your match. There are a lot of other aspects. The mental aspect is a huge aspect. You never know what is in the mind of the players. Which mindset they enter the court.. what they are affected by. That has to do with the opponent, or the records, that has to do with the fact that its a final, or its a final in Roland Garros, maybe some other factors that are personal," Mouratoglou said.
"I'm not saying that it is the case here. There are so many different factors that can affect the mindset of the player before the enter the court. The mindset of the players affects so much the quality of the tennis plays.. the belief that the player has in himself and in tennis. That's life. It happens to even the best ones as you can see," he added.Published 12 Oct 2020, 17:04 IST