Loyola University and Boys Latin Tennis Coach Jim Magee picks Nadal in four sets today. Step up to the pulpit, Coach.
Djokovic’s 63-2 record this year is potentially the best year in the Open Era. Couple that with Novak’s chance to be only the seventh man in history to win three slams in a single year and you’ll find 99 out of 100 experts picking him to win. Not me. Along with believing that Nadal is one of the toughest competitors (with Connors and Gonzales) to ever play tennis, there are other reasons why I think he’ll win:
1) With five finals lost this year to Djokovic, Rafa’s looking for revenge.
2) Nadal has only lost one set this tournament, so he’s fresher. Djokovic went five sets on Saturday and the 63-2 has a downside. It’s a lot of tennis.
3) With this victory, Nadal could still finish #1 at the end of the year, so there is much to play for today.
4) If Nadal wins, he and Djokovic will have split the majors this year, and Nadal would tie Laver and Borg with 11 major titles.
5) A Spain/Serbia Davis Cup final in December is likely and Rafa wants to send Djoker a message today.
6) To paraphrase Vitas Gerulaitus, “Nobody beats me six times in a row”.
Nadal has been a genius for adapting his game. He figured out how to beat Federer when that didn’t seem possible, and I believe he’ll find a way to beat Djokovic today.