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04/17/2021

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Bettyjane

Unshakeable....hmmm, maybe if we forget the FO final last year.

Tennis Planet

BETTYJANE

What happens is probably this:

Djokovic's showing against Nadal on surfaces not called clay irrefutably establishes Djokovic's ownership. Djokovic's record on those surfaces - outside of Nadal - further removes ALL doubt - specially for Nadal - personally - forget for other people / pundits.

Nadal accepts above dynamic - unwillingly - but without any protest.

However, when the two move to clay, above equation moves there too BUT since the domination coin flips in favor of Nadal the stream loses significant juice - for Djokovic. But the loss of juice is not as pronounced as Nadal's loss against Djokovic on surfaces not called clay for following reasons:

Djokovic HAS defeated Nadal on clay - in straight sets - @ Nadal's favorite locations:

Monte Carlo: 63 63.
Rome: 76 63.
Madrid: 62 64.

And then there is the asterisked Roland Garros: 75 63 61.

Above is important because NO ONE else has done that against Nadal EVER and more importantly Nadal has NOT inflicted proportionate damage on surfaces not called clay on Djokovic to counter it sufficiently enough to NOT let it become an issue for him on clay.

Point: Djokovic's ownership of Nadal on surfaces not called clay carries over to clay with enough bite to tip the scale in Djokovic's favor - barely - IN NADAL'S MIND. However, Nadal's impossible record on clay still intimidates Djokovic sufficiently enough to NOT allow him to capitalize on his leverage - unrestrained.

In other words, it's akin to the dynamic between a male lion and an elephant. Elephant knows he can crush the lion but lion's record provides enough scare to deter the elephant from going fully ballistic.

Bottom line: Djokovic has risen high enough in Nadal's mind as a legit threat on clay that his shield of confidence has been pierced. Add advanced age and recent back problems forget his injury record vs Djokovic's recent achievements @ weeks @ No. 1, 9th AO title etc. and it's a Slam freaking dunk.

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