Rafael Nadal is still the ‘King of Clay’, remains a threat at 2016 French Open: Novak Djokovic

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Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is still a big threat at the French Open, according to the current World No. 1 in tennis.

Novak Djokovic showed respect to Nadal despite the obvious struggles on the court by the Spanish pro in recent tournaments. In a recent interview, Djokovic noted that Nadal is still a worthy opposition, especially on the clay courts, which is considered the specialty and favorite of Nadal.

“You would be disrespectful to everything he has achieved in his career on clay courts if we didn’t see him this year – and each year – as the ultimate challenge on clay courts,” the Serbian Djokovic said of Nadal to AAP.

“Everybody knows he is the king of clay. He’s achieved so much on that surface. He’s made history. He’s won the French Open nine times.”

The “King of Clay” has owned the clay courts at Roland Garros the past decade or ten years winning nine times in the Grand Slam tournament in France. Nadal has won four straight from 2005 to 2008 and five straight from 2010 to 2014.

However, Nadal has completely struggled the past two seasons in the ATP tour. After his French Open title in 2014, he has not advanced past the quarterfinals in the last seven Grand Slam tournaments on schedule. Most recently, Nadal embarrassingly fell to Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open.

Meanwhile, Djokovic continued the greatest stretch of his career by winning the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne, his sixth Australian Open title (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and 11th overall Grand Slam title in his career (2011, 2014 and 2014 at the Wimbledon Championships and 2011 and 2015 at the US Open).

However, Djokovic has failed to win a title at the French Open losing twice to Nadal in the final, in 2012 and 2014, and to Stan Wawrinka last year.

The 2016 French Open is scheduled from May 16 to June 5 later this year.

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

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