All roads lead to Rafa for Djokovic, says Courier

Sun May 24, 2015 1:18pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

PARIS (Reuters) - Favorite Novak Djokovic will not be unduly alarmed by the prospect of facing defending champion Rafa Nadal in the quarter-final of the French Open, according to twice winner Jim Courier.

Serb Djokovic has been virtually unplayable this year, amassing a 35-2 win-loss record including the Australian Open title and Masters 1000 triumphs at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome, and has a golden chance to complete his career grand slam in Paris.

Struggling Nadal's low seeding of six means Djokovic will bump into the claycourt king far sooner than expected, having lost to him in two of the last three finals.

"If I were (Djokovic's coach) Boris Becker and I were counseling Novak I would tell him look, it doesn't matter, if you want to win this tournament then all roads lead to Nadal," Courier, commentating for ITV Sport, told Reuters.

"So whether you get him in the quarters the semis or the final it doesn't matter, you still have to beat him.

"That's the reality, that's the truth."

"We had a situation a couple of years ago when he and Rafa played in the semi-finals with (David) Ferrer waiting in the final and Novak knew that was the final.

"He would approach the quarter-finals if we get there in exactly the same fashion. It would be absolutely like a final."   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning against Roger Federer of Switzerland after their final match at the Rome Open tennis tournament in Rome, Italy, May 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini