Nadal In Awe Of "Perfect" Djokovic Display
Rafael Nadal was left speechless following a 6-1, 6-2 defeat to Novak Djokovic in the final of the season-opening Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
The 2014 champion has enjoyed great success in Doha over the years, also adding four doubles crowns, but the Spaniard had no answer for the Serb's suffocating tactics and ruthless display from the baseline. Nadal lauded the World No. 1's performance as perhaps the greatest he's ever witnessed.
"The match is easy to analyse," said Nadal. "I played against a player who did everything perfectly. I don't know anybody who's ever played tennis like this. Since I know this sport I've never seen somebody playing at this level. So I just congratulate him and that's it.
"I know I can do a few things better, but the real thing is with these conditions, playing during the night and with the feeling of the ball here, it's so difficult to have chances against him playing like this. It is probably impossible.
"When somebody is better than you, you accept it and you work to try to improve yourself. That's it. I am not frustrated. I look at the things very clearly and I am always honest. Today he's better than me without a doubt."
"It did feel as close to perfection as it can get," Djokovic responded, when told of Nadal's comments. "From the first to the last point I managed to impose my own tactical approach and strategy and what I have prepared myself for, and the conditions were played to my favour... There are those days when you see a tennis ball as a watermelon, and I guess this was that kind of day."
Following a disappointing 2015 campaign by the former World No. 1's standards, Nadal is looking to a fresh start in the new season. Despite the defeat, the Manacor native looks to the positives after reaching his 99th tour-level final.
"The real thing is I had a positive week. I am playing well and I am going to keep working hard to try to be ready for Australia. I think I will be. I am motivated for it.
"He played so good. Accept it and congratulate him. Nothing left to say. The only thing is the opponent is better than me today. And here especially. Let's see in Australia and let's see later during the whole season. I'm going to fight and I feel ready to fight. I feel ready and excited about this fight and I hope to be closer."
Nadal will enter his 11th Australian Open seeded fifth, seeking a second title (2009).