Tennis

Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic play mind games at Australian Open

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They are two of the biggest rivals in tennis, on-court anyway, but it appears as though Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are copying each other in the build-up to the Australian Open.

Hopefully it won't prove to be the case, but at the moment we are left wondering who has been given the biggest sicknote by their doctor as the Melbourne major prepares to kick-off.

We have known about the issues faced by Nadal for quite some time. For a while it was rumoured that the Spaniard would withdraw from the Australian Open while his best form eludes him during an injury comeback. However, while appendicitis and wrist problems have clearly left a mark, Nadal will battle on.

NADAL NOT WELL

The former world number one has already asked his fans not to expect too much and ruled himself out of the running to win a second title Down Under; the 28-year-old claimed he wasn't one of the favourites.

If Nadal isn't in the running, surely you have to make it Djokovic's to lose? He's the world number one, he was at the top of his game in 2014 and he appears to have the wool over Roger Federer at the moment.

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You could be wrong in thinking that though.

DJOKOVIC DOUBTS

After missing a practice session on Saturday, the Serbian star told the world's media that he has been struggling with a stomach virus on the eve of his most prolific Grand Slam tournament. 

To be fair, the world number one did admit that he was now feeling better and that it won't be a cause of concern for the next fortnight.

However, to me, it seems like both Nadal and Djokovic are taking steps to cover their tracks in case of a shock exit in the early rounds of the Australian Open. These guys are like machines. Top stars have the best coaches and equipment available to them to overcome and injury and their diets are strictly monitored - they must be exaggerating a little. 

MIND GAMES?

Could it be down to an underlying fear that a new name is ready to challenge their dominance? Stanislas Wawrinka made waves last year when he won his first Grand Slam trophy at this event, and now there are others who are threatening to do the same.

Being at the top of your sport holds much more than playing best on-court; you must have a certain amount of mind-control ability; could that be what Nadal and Djokovic are doing?

Do not be surprised if these two are actually fine, at the top of their game and ready to have another epic showdown in the latter rounds. It's been a while since we have seen them play - the French Open to be precise - and their very best matches can be difficult to match at any other sporting event in the world. 

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Topics:
Australian Open
Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic
Tennis

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