Novak Djokovic has advantage that Rafael Nadal can’t benefit from

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Andy Roddick has shared the advantage Novak Djokovic has in the latter stages of his career that Rafael Nadal can’t benefit from. Djokovic ended the season by winning a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title, leading Roddick to praise his physical ability at the age of 35 while admitting that Nadal couldn’t rely on his body in the same way.

Djokovic picked up his sixth ATP Finals crown on Sunday to equal Roger Federer’s record, while also winning his first trophy at the season-ending tournament since turning 30 with his last win coming all the way back in 2015. Now aged 35, many believe the Serb is only improving with age while Nadal has not been afforded the same luxury with his body.

“His body does not look like a typical body that’s at the end of the road,” former world No 1 Roddick told Tennis Channel after the world No 5’s title run in Turin. “You look at the flexibility, he hasn’t lost anything as far as movement and if anything he has only gotten better from 28 to 35.”

And the 2003 US Open champion thought it gave Djokovic an advantage over Nadal, who he thought wasn’t able to hold up physically in the same way he did five years ago. The American continued: “You won’t find a bigger Rafa fan than me but it looks different than it did five years ago.

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“He has to adjust the way he plays, he’s having to play higher risk and end points a little sooner which means we see a lot more peaks and valleys. He’s not able to run balls down like he was able without paying a physical bill. Novak still seems that he’s able to rely on his body a little more no matter which type of strategy.”

And Djokovic proved Roddick’s theory right during his run in Turin, as he was able to overcome physical struggle and fatigue to end the week with an undefeated 5-0 record. The 91-time title winner was seen doubled-over and physically shaking during his last round-robin match against Daniil Medvedev but was able to come through in three hours and 11 minutes – his longest-ever match at the ATP Finals.

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In comparison, Nadal went 1-2 in his round-robin matches during the week as he was eliminated in the group stage, losing to Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime before getting a win over Casper Ruud. The ATP Finals was just his second tournament in two months after the Spaniard revealed he tore his abdomen for a second time ahead of the US Open, first injuring it at Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, Roddick isn’t the only person to claim that Djokovic has become even better in his 30s after the Serb’s coach admitted that his charge was training harder than he did 13 years ago. “He’s practising even harder than when he was 22. That’s why he’s still so good and that’s why he’s still going to be even better,” Goran Ivanisevic said after the world No 5 lifted his sixth ATP Finals trophy.

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