Alex Corretja says Novak Djokovic cannot think about his rivalry with Rafael Nadal heading into Wimbledon this year.
Nadal currently sits on 22 Grand Slam singles titles after winning the French Open earlier this month, even though his troublesome left foot “was asleep” during his romp to a 14th Paris title, and said he needed multiple injections to last the tournament. Djokovic, meanwhile, is still on 20 heading into the third Slam of the year as the defending champion.
Nadal and Djokovic played out a four-set epic at Roland-Garros in the quarter-finals on May 31, which Nadal won 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6(4).
Eurosport analyst Corretja believes Djokovic will prove incredibly difficult to beat on grass, but that neither player can think too much about the other heading into the Grand Slam which gets underway on June 27.
“Novak, he loves grass,” he said.
“He likes to play there and he knows the surface very well, he adjusts very well to these conditions. I know maybe he didn’t win Roland-Garros, and that was a little bit like, okay, he was trying to be ready.
“But Rafa played an unbelievable match [at Roland-Garros] and I think it should give him the calm to say ‘okay, I gave everything I had and now I need to focus on another thing’. Now it’s grass court season.
“He’s always going to be there. Novak, I think starting the tournament, you know that he might be probably the man to beat because he’s been doing very well. He’s been winning there.
“He’s the defending champion, and I think it’s going to be super difficult to beat him. He serves great, he returns perfect, he moves well, he plays deep.
“So I don’t think there are too many guys on the draw that they really feel that they can beat Novak best-of-five on grass.”
Djokovic has won Wimbledon six times in his decorated career, but Corretja says the world No. 1’s performance levels at Wimbledon could depend on how he handles the occasion emotionally.
“I think it will depend a lot on how he feels and about pressure or not,” he said.
“I feel like Rafa Nadal now, he left a little [bit of a gap] with the Slams and now Djokovic needs to just recover his feelings.
“I don’t think he needs to think about Rafa or Rafa about Novak.
“Right now, they have this little gap. Let’s play and see how we feel after the tournament and see how it goes.”