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Rivals tip Nadal as the man to beat

Posted 08-26-2013 at 12:01 PM by Philip Oliver
Rafael Nadal's scintillating form on hard courts this year has made him the man to beat at the US Open, according to Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

The Spaniard has a 15-0 record on hard courts in 2013, winning Masters titles on the in Indian Wells, Montreal and Cincinnati. Nadal’s sensational run of form has been made all the more impressive by the fact he only returned from a seven-month injury lay-off in February.

Heading into the final grand slam of the year, world number one Djokovic has admitted the Spaniard is the man to beat on the hard court surfaces at Flushing Meadows, despite only being third favourite in the tennis betting.

"Nadal is definitely back and playing maybe the best tennis that he ever has played on hard courts," said Djokovic.

Defending champion Andy Murray, who is on course to meet Nadal in the semi-finals, has also admitted he knows it will be "very difficult to beat" the 12-time grand slam winner in New York this month.

"He hasn't lost yet because he's beaten some tough players in tough tournaments, winning the two tournaments back to back in Cincinnati and Canada. And it's not like he's had easy draws or whatever. He's beaten some top, top players."

And Nadal’s long-time rival Roger Federer, a five-time champion at Flushing Meadows, completed the trio of top players to concede the world number two was the man to beat in the final grand slam of the year and perhaps persuading punters who bet on tennis to back the man from Majorca.

"I'm clearly very impressed. Especially seeing him play really well on the quicker hard courts, and he showed also on the quicker hard courts he's someone to be reckoned with.”
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