Novak Djokovic ahead of big final: ‘Rafael Nadal does not scare me, I will fight’

Over the last 15 years, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have forged one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history, battling for numerous notable titles and sharing many records that will take some beating. Their first ATP final came in Indian Wells 2007, as an overture for everything that would come in the future. Establishing himself in the top-20 by the end of 2006, Novak Djokovic set high goals ahead of the new season, kicking off the action with the Adelaide title and the Australian Open fourth round. The Serb lost to Mikhail Youzhny and Roger Federer before Indian Wells, where he achieved the best result at the Masters 1000 series after reaching the final. The 19-year-old ousted Robby Ginepri, Evgeny Korolev, Julien Benneteau and David Ferrer in straight sets to secure the meeting with his friend and coeval Andy Murray.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal set the title clash in Indian Wells 2007.

Instead of an entertaining encounter between two upcoming stars, the crowd received a short battle and almost no action, with Novak beating Andy 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour. On the previous night, Murray had to stay on the court for almost three hours against Tommy Haas, prevailing in the deciding tie break and twisting his ankle to plague his chances against the Serb. Novak secured five breaks to have the upper hand from start to finish, staying focused and marching into the most significant final of his young career. After the match, Novak admitted he did not watch the other semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick, heading to the practice court instead. Djokovic was eager to show his best tennis against the Spaniard in the title clash, not seeing any reason to be scared and just wanting to compete on a high level against world no. 2.

“I did not watch Rafael Nadal against Andy Roddick, maybe only the first couple of points before I went to practice. They finished quickly; it was a fast match. I know the way Nadal plays; I’m familiar with his game. I could not finish that Roland Garros encounter against Rafa last year, but I could take away some positive things. Also, I’m learning something from every match against a rival like him. I’m feeling pretty confident and comfortable on the court right now. We will see what will happen; I will go out and try to win. I do not see any reason to be scared or think I have something to lose; I will try to play my best tennis. Nadal is a great competitor and a difficult player to battle against. He likes the surfaces because it bounces a lot, making it perfect for his heavy spins. He likes to play long matches under the sun, and I can not change the fact the final starts at noon,” Novak Djokovic said.