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Rafael Nadal hardly ever gets ruffled, unlike Novak Djokovic: Sunil Gavaskar

 Rafael Nadal with the winners trophy at Roland Garros 2020
 Rafael Nadal with the winners trophy at Roland Garros 2020
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Modified 27 Oct 2020, 22:13 IST
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Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has described tennis legend Rafael Nadal winning yet another French Open as 'jaw-dropping', in a column for Indian website Sportstar. He also compared Nadal's temperament with that of his peers, including Novak Djokovic.

Earlier this month, Rafael Nadal demolished Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title. In the process, he also tied Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles - the most in men's tennis history.

With factors such as different weather conditions, usage of new balls, and the Spaniard's decision to skip the US Open coming into play, many had expected Rafael Nadal to have a tougher time in Paris this year. But the 34-year-old dismissed all the doubts in emphatic fashion to show why he is known as the 'King of Clay'.

"Rafael Nadal winning the French Open for a record-extending 13th time is absolutely jaw-dropping," Gavaskar said. "It’s the hardest surface to play on and a player has to be incredibly fit to keep playing five-setters pretty much every day. Yet Rafa finds something extra that takes him to the title year after year."
"He is level with Roger Federer with 20 Majors under his belt and to many in the tennis world he is already the greatest of them all," Gavaskar added. "He still has a few years left and with his superb fitness he could win Majors for the next couple of years too."

Gavaskar went on to state that Rafael Nadal's temperament and mental toughness are what set him apart from the rest of his rivals.

"What shines through apart from his talent is his temperament. He hardly ever gets ruffled unlike Djokovic and so has a better grip on his game as he doesn’t let other factors disturb his mental equilibrium. As always it’s temperament that separates the men from the boys," Gavaskar said.

Sunil Gavaskar likens Chennai Super Kings' dominance to that of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer & Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer
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In the column Sunil Gavaskar also spoke about the Chennai Super Kings' failure to reach the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 playoffs, calling it a major surprise. He compared the team's dominant performance over the years in the IPL to that of the Big 3 - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic - in men's tennis.

CSK have won the IPL title thrice (in 2010, 2011 and 2018), and hold the record for making the most appearances in the playoffs (10) as well as the final (eight). Before this year the franchise also held the record for reaching the playoffs in every season that they were part of.

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The Big 3 of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have dominated men's tennis for most of the last two decades. They have won a combined 57 Grand Slam singles titles, starting with Roger Federer grabbing his first Major at Wimbledon in 2003.

"Chennai's consistent performance over the years may bring forth comparison with the Big 3 in the tennis world. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have featured in the semis if not the finals of virtually all the Majors over the last 10 years or so. Reaching the semis year after year is incredible and the Big 3 have been doing it quite easily despite a rash of young talent which seems to freeze in the big ticket Major events," Gavaskar said.
Published 27 Oct 2020, 20:46 IST
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