Rafael Nadal is a bit worse than Novak Djokovic on hard, says Paul Annacone

Rafael Nadal has failed to take a set away from Novak Djokovic on hard courts since the 2013 US Open final, when he beat the Serb in four sets.

The famous coach Paul Annacone believes that Nadal can't beat Djokovic at the upcoming Australian Open, even if he passes the opening week without troubles. Annacone explained while Nadal performs better at the US Open, where he won four titles between 2010-2019. Former coach of Pete Sampras and Roger Federer assumes that the Australian Open comes too early for Rafa to hit the right form at the beginning of the season, reaching many finals in Melbourne but failing to beat the top players.

"Things are simple; Rafa is just a bit worse on hardcourt than Novak in particular, and Roger as well on a faster hardcourt. But everyone else, I would put him ahead. If he plays Novak at the end of the tournament, I'm not betting on him. But if he plays anyone else, I do. I think the biggest thing for Nadal is to get through the first week relatively comfortably.

Even though they are both hardcourt Majors, Rafa stands a better chance at the US Open than the Australian Open, as he can play more matches during spring and summer and get himself into a right position at the season's last Major. The Australian Open comes right at the beginning of the season, after just a couple of ATP Cup matches. That's not enough for him to hit the right form and challenge the biggest rivals," Paul Annacone said.

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