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Novak Djokovic’s coach says ‘80%’ of French Open crowd will cheer against him during Rafael Nadal match

 

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Rafael Nadal holds the record for most French Open titles with 13 wins and will no doubt have the crowds’ support when he takes on Novak Djokovic in their heavily anticipated quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday, but for Djokovic’s team that can be a good thing.

“I am glad that 80% of the crowd will cheer against Novak. He’s got a reason to get angry and to fight even more,” Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic told local Serbian media.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during the Men’s Singles Fourth Round match on Day 8 of The 2022 French Open at Roland Garros on May 29, 2022 in Paris, France.
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Djokovic and Nadal’s professional rivalry has seen both men face off 58 times with Djokovic leading the series 30-28 but Nadal has the advantage on clay with 19-8 wins and 7-2 at Roland Garros.

“Novak knows how good he is. For me and for all my fans, he is the best tennis player of all time, but we have to stand in front of a man who has won the Garros 13 times. This is like coming to someone’s house, to the living room. Respect should be shown, but not too much,” Ivanisevic said.

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FILE - Serbia's Novak Djokovic, left, shakes hands with Spain's Rafael Nadal after their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Friday, June 11, 2021, in Paris. 

FILE – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, left, shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Friday, June 11, 2021, in Paris.
(AP Photo/Michel Euler, Filer)

Nadal won the Australian Open this year after Djokovic, a record nine-time champion in Melbourne, was deported before the tournament began because of his COVID-19 vaccine status.

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Both players are setting up for a grueling battle. Despite having the edge on clay courts, Nadal voiced his concern about playing a night game.

“I don’t like night sessions on clay. I am very clear with that,” Nadal said last week, via Reuters. “I don’t like to play on clay during the night because the humidity is higher, the ball is slower and there can be very heavy conditions especially when it’s cold.”

FILE - Serbia's Novak Djokovic, left, and Spain's Rafael Nadal look at each other as they pose for images prior to the final match of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. 

FILE – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, left, and Spain’s Rafael Nadal look at each other as they pose for images prior to the final match of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020.
(AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

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The quarterfinal match will begin at 2:45 p.m. E.T.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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