Nadal: Novak will be a tough opponent

World number one Rafael Nadal says he will have to be at his very best when he faces Novak Djokovic in Friday’s much-anticipated Wimbledon semi-final.

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In yesterday’s quarter-final match-ups, both players had very different matches. Djokovic won a routine four-setter against Japan’s Kei Nishikori in two hours and 38 minutes, while Nadal battled for just under five hours to somehow get past Juan Martin del Potro in a five-set thriller.

Nadal and Djokovic have faced each other 51 times in total with the Serbian shading it with 26 wins but the Spaniard has won their last two meetings.

When asked about how he felt about facing Djokovic, the 32-year-old Nadal acknowledged that it was always a big challenge to face his 31-year-old opponent.

“There is no other match in the history of tennis that has been played more than our matches,” said Nadal. “That’s a big thing. We always played in important stages, important places.

“Friday is another important match against an opponent who is one of the most difficult ones that you can face. He’s playing well. The only way to try to win it is to play very well.

“It is always a big challenge to face Novak. He is one of the more complex players that I have ever seen in our sport, it is always a big test. You know that you can’t win against him if you don’t play very well.

“But my goal is to try to play very well. I know in the semi-finals of Wimbledon you will not have an easy opponent. You have to accept that if you want to win important things. Of course, you will face the best players. You need to be ready for it.”

The other man’s semi-final sees a battle between the South African Kevin Anderson and American John Isner who beat top-seeded Roger Federer and Canadian Milos Raonic respectively.

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