Novak Djokovic can win Calendar Grand Slam, his racket smashing is "strange": Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
Gauri Awasthi

Rafael Nadal is all set to make his maiden appearance at the Citi Open in Washington. The Spaniard will be seen in action this week for the first time since his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros.

But Djokovic is still the biggest talking point of the tennis community, and during Nadal's pre-tournament press conference at Washington he was asked a few questions about the Serb.

Djokovic failed to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, falling in the semifinals to Alexander Zverev. That ended the World No. 1's bid for a 'Calendar Golden Slam' (all four Majors + Olympic gold), but he is still on course to complete the 'Calendar Grand Slam' (winning all four Majors).

When asked whether he thinks Novak Djokovic can complete the Calendar Slam this year, Rafael Nadal asserted that it was very much possible. The Spaniard also claimed Djokovic is one of the clear favorites heading into the US Open.

"What he achieved this year is something, well, amazing," Nadal said. "I definitely believe that he can do it, without a doubt."
"He's already won three, so when you win three, you can win four, without a doubt," he added. "He's going to be playing on hardcourts, probably his best surface, so why not? Of course it's something difficult. [There are] going to be other guys that want to achieve the last Slam of the season. But of course he's one of the clear favorites."

Novak Djokovic was also in the news during Tokyo for some unwanted reasons. During his bronze-medal match against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic lost his cool and smashed his racket into the net. He also flung it into the stands at one point and eventually lost the match in three sets.

During his Washington presser Rafael Nadal was also asked for his thoughts on his arch-rival's displays of anger. In response, Nadal claimed that it is important to control your emotions in the heat of the moment, since losing your cool doesn't convey a good message to impressionable minds.

"Luckily there were no people in the stands and nothing else happened, but these are things that happen from time to time," Nadal said. "You have to try to avoid them. The image is not the best. It is important to avoid this type of situation, and more if you are a reference for many children."

The Spaniard further admitted he found it "strange" that someone as successful as Djokovic could react that way, but then attributed it to the Serb's competitive nature.

"In the end he is number one in the world and one of the best in history," Nadal said. "It is strange that someone, being so successful, reacts in this way from time to time, but in the end he is very competitive and reacts like this."

"Super happy to be here" - Rafael Nadal on playing in Washington

2020 Australian Open - Day 4
2020 Australian Open - Day 4

Playing in his first tournament in about two months, Rafael Nadal opened up about his decision to skip Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. The 35-year-old claimed it was the "right thing to do" given his rigorous schedule in the first half of the year.

"Playing in Washington allows me to be on the tour one week before than what I do usually for this part of the season," Nadal said. "But missing Wimbledon, I think that's the right thing to do. The decision I think is the right one."
"Super happy to be here," he added. "[The] tournament organisation is doing amazing."

The top seed further expressed some doubts over his fitness levels, but added he would try to give his 100% no matter what the situation.

"I don't know how long it will take to recover everything, but the only thing I can say is I'm here just to try my best in every single moment," Nadal said. "I hope the past couple of days of practices keep helping me to be competitive enough for the first round."

Rafael Nadal is slated to play his opener on Wednesday, 4 August. He awaits the winner of the match between Jack Sock and Yoshihito Nishioka.

Edited by Musab Abid

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