Rafael Nadal branded a ‘king’ in surprise admission by Novak Djokovic team member

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Rafael Nadal overtook Novak Djokovic as the world No 1 this week.

Novak Djokovic’s strategy analyst Craig O’Shannessy has praised Rafael Nadal as the “king” at never giving up.

Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer have once again dominated the tennis year, taking a total of 13 singles titles throughout the season.

The Spaniard is now top of the men’s rankings despite pulling out of the Paris Masters last week through injury before his semi-final.

Djokovic went on to win that tournament, increasing his slim chances of regaining the top ranking to become the year-end No 1.

The Serbian has been incredible throughout the year, picking up two more Grand Slam titles to move within four of Roger Federer’s all-time record.

Nadal similarly dominated, winning the French Open and the US Open.

Pointing to the 2019 French Open, O’Shannessy points to how Nadal ranked better than anyone having broke back immediately seven out of nine times.

And the Djokovic team member believes that’s a sign of how strong Nadal is mentally over his rivals.

“One of the best ever at handling adversity in a match is Rafa Nadal – and he is exceptional at not getting down on himself when broken,” he told Tennishead.

“In fact, he is a king at breaking straight back.

“At Roland Garros in 2019, Rafa Nadal faced a total of 28 break points during the tournament and was broken nine times.

“How did the Spaniard deal with the failure of not holding serve nine times?

“By immediately breaking back seven times in the ensuing service game.

“It’s an incredibly impressive statistic that is overflowing with his determination and resolve.”

The ATP Finals get underway next week with Nadal facing a race against time to declare himself fit for the tournament.

Djokovic has been drawn in the same group as Federer, with the 32-year-old getting his tournament underway on Sunday as he faces Matteo Berrettini.

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