Tears of emotion and his reaction when asked if it is his last Roland Garros: 6 phrases by Rafa Nadal after the great victory against Djokovic

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The Spanish Rafael Nadal (N.6) defeated the Serbian Novak Djokovic (world number 1) in an epic battle of more than four hours), by 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 and 7-6 (7/4) and remains in the running to win his 14th Roland Garros and increase his Grand Slam record to 22. In the semifinals, Nadal will face the German Alexander Zverev, executioner of the other Spaniard present in the quarterfinals, the young Carlos Alcaraz (N.6), in four sets, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6 and 7-6 (9/7).

“I am very excited. For me it’s really amazing to play here. It is the most important tournament of my career and they make me feel all the energy. Thank you very much”, were the first words of Rafa still on the court and in the midst of a tremendous ovation that came down from all four sides of the Philippe Chatrier.

“It was a difficult match. Novak is one of the best in history and playing against him is always a great challenge. We have a long history between us and today it was another battle. There is only one way to beat him and that is to put the maximum of your abilities, until the last ball. I am very happy with the level of my game tonight”, Nadal continued with tears of emotion.

In dialogue with the tournament authorities, the Spaniard made it clear that it is his favorite Grand Slam. “There is no other place on earth for me. This is the most important and most special pitch of my career. Feeling the love of everyone here in Paris is priceless.” And when asked if it is his last Roland Garrosexpressed: “All I’m going to say is see you in two days, thank you.”

Minutes later, in a heads up with ESPN, Nadal expressed his emotion even more and recounted the vicissitudes that he has been facing in recent times. “If we don’t get emotional for moments like this… it’s hard not to. We are in the quarterfinals of the most important tournament of my career, playing against one of my biggest rivals, with an audience that has been dedicated from start to finish. I have no words to praise him. For me these are difficult months on a physical level. I’ve been in a lot of trouble but nights like today mean everything.”

And he concluded: “Someday when I finish my career we will talk about all things, but those who live my day to day know what is there. From there you need a lot to play at this level. honestly for me It is a brutal effort because many days I am not able to train. The reality is that being in this situation, one enjoys nights like today. The only thing it does is fill me with energy to keep trying.”

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Chronicle of the match.

Since the draw was known, it was the match that all tennis fans were waiting for and the two tennis players, who have 41 Grand Slams together, did not disappoint, offering a work of art. With Nadal’s victory, the balance between the two in this historic rivalry is 30 wins for Djokovic and 29 for Nadal, although the Spaniard clearly dominates in Paris with 8 wins to 2.

Neither age (he will turn 36 on Friday), nor his battered left foot that betrayed him in Rome three weeks ago, nor the game scheduled for a night session, nor playing against the number 1 in the world… Nothing seems to be able to stop the ‘King of the Clay Court’. Despite the fact that in the previous one he had said that he did not know if it would be his last match at Roland Garros, Nadal showed from the beginning that he will not give up easily, offering tennis of a level that has rarely been seen in the Philippe Chattier.

A match perhaps at the height of the 2008 and 2020 finals, when he swept Roger Federer (6-1, 6-3 and 6-0) and Novak Djokovic (6-0, 6-2 and 7-5) off the court ), respectively. It was a lesson in how to play tennis: efficient on serve, deadly on return, moving the opponent from side to side opening angles with shots to the lines, effective at the net and making few unforced errors. A pure delight that could be enjoyed by the 15,000 privileged people who attended the Philippe Chatrier and who supported Nadal almost unanimously.

Sweeping start.

This is the only way to explain the score 6-2 in the first set and 3-0 in the second when it was 1 hour and 20 minutes into the match, but at that moment Djokovic, who was not playing badly, wanted to join the master class and he reacted: with a break in an endless 18-minute game he equalized the set 3-3 and with his service he placed himself 3-4 with another game of more than nine minutes. Two hours of the match had passed and barely a set and a half had been played!

Djokovic played his best tennis of the match, dominant with his service, deadly with the return and, in addition, he seemed physically fresher, equalizing the match at a set with another ‘break’ over Nadal (4-6).

As at the start of the match, Nadal once again offered his best version in the third round and scored an inning ‘break’ with a blank game to break Djokovic’s comeback dynamic, which was confirmed when the Serb wasted a ball to return the break and the Mallorcan responded with another break to place himself 4-1 and then close the set 6-2, to stay one away from the semifinals.

Unlike the first three sets, always with an initial serve for Djokovic, the Serb managed to keep his serve and broke Nadal’s in the next set to acquire an advantage that would have allowed him to force the fifth set, but at 3-5 and serve to In his favour, Djokovic missed two balls to win the set and Nadal broke him.

Djokovic suffered the blow, survived until reaching the ‘tie break’, but Nadal already knew he was the winner and won the decisive game by 7/4 after 4 hours and 12 minutes of a master class.


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