Rafael Nadal faces the toughest test for Novak Djokovic in the 2020 French Open men’s final

Rafael Nadal faces the toughest test for Novak Djokovic in the 2020 French Open men's final

Novak Djokovic Once again, Landland’s Roland Garros is on the verge of completing a difficult single-match assignment: defeat Rafael Nadal, Who has never lost a final in 12 championship matches at the French Open.

Maybe if you don’t take it for hyperbole, listen to Djokovic.

“Well, isn’t that obvious?” He asked Friday evening after being defeated Stefanos tsitipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 in the semifinals. “That [Nadal] Won this tournament so many times that I don’t think any player has won a tournament many times. He has lost twice on this court in his entire career. “

The top two seeds, Djokovic and Nadal, will play for all French Open marbles for the third time in their careers at the newly renovated court Philippe-Chatier. Nadal secured his place in Sunday’s final Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0) in straight sets early Friday.

The stadium may not be “Nadal’s built-in building”, but he rented it almost without interruption since 2005, when he was just 19 years old, paving the way for the championship on Chattier’s gritty, red, dirt floor.

“I know it’s a court where I’ve been playing a good game for so long, so it helps,” said Naval, who rocked Nadal three weeks ago in the final of the Italian Open. “At the same time, that [Djokovic] Here too there is an amazing record, staying in the final round almost every time. “

The final round, yes. Championships, no.

Had it not been for Nadal, Djokovic would have had about four or five French Open trophies to perform at home, instead she would have completed her career to complete the Grand Slam in 2011 – when Nadal withdrew from the event during the first due to a wrist injury. Due week. Nadal has sexually abused Djokovic six times in seven meetings in Paris this spring (this year’s event was postponed for four months), including twice in the final.

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With 12 titles and a 98-2 twilight zone on the Nad Land Garros, what does Nadal need to worry about?

More than meets the eye.

“Different circumstances, different types of tournaments and different situations,” said the old man, referring to both the viscous, wet, October version of the French Open’s chit version of the epidemic, which limited its soil-court preparations and conditions. .

“The conditions are different and we get used to playing in May and June,” Djokovic said. “I think it could be a better opportunity for me – obviously, he doesn’t bounce the ball high over the shoulder, because he usually likes it. [But] See, regardless of the conditions, it is still there. That’s Rafa, he’s in the finals, and we’re playing on clay. “

Nadal’s superiority in the Land Geros is the shining arc of Djokovic’s career. Con 33-year-old has been the best tennis player since 2011. He has won 17 major titles in that period – Nadal 10 and second Roger Federer Four – while Nadal and Federer were reversing their fortunes in the match.

In the first five years of their feud, ending in 2010, Nadal defeated Djokovic in 16 of 23 matches, including all nine of his seats on clay. However, starting in 2011, Djokovic reversed the tide. He led 22-10 against Nadal, which gave him an overall lead of 29-26 in his series.

In terms of Sunday, Nadal is 8-7 against Djokovic on clay since the start of 2011 – the start of the Serbian star’s glorious days. With the exception of three French Open seats, it is a three-set-best match.

The pace in the rivalry is clearly Djokovic’s, but the “King of F Clay” has been so overwhelming in the King’s race that he has been forced to play five sets on just four occasions in more than 100 matches. He has won them all, including the memorable 2013 semifinal against Djokovic.

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That victory depends on the highlight reel of Nadal’s career as it happened when the youngest of the big three in the game, Djokovic, was rapidly closing the gap on his two iconic rivals. In the fifth, Nadal caught a four-and-a-half-hour barn burner to win from Nad–.

It was a bitter pill for Djokovic to swallow. His main ambition for the year was to win the tournament to complete his career Grand Slam. Also, Djokovic’s childhood coach Jelena Jensic died in the middle of the tournament. He badly wanted to dedicate the Paris victory to his memory.

“It’s been an incredible match to be a part of, but all I can feel now is disappointment,” Djokovic said after losing a sadly close match.

That moment was so sweet for Nadal that it was bitter for Djokovic. She played the first big Nadal after missing seven months due to knee tendinitis.

Nadal was able to stop Djokovic’s drive to complete his career at the Grand Slam in Roland Garros once more in 2014 with a 2, C, four-set final.

Contrary to Sunday’s forecast (conditions 58 degrees Fahrenheit high with rain), the match was played with intense heat and humidity. As Djokovic watched the final stage unfold, his eyes sank deep into his sockets. During the transition at the beginning of the fourth set, he was seen vulturing.

“It’s not impossible, but it’s very difficult to stay at the highest level of performance with Rafa throughout the match,” Djokovic later said.

However, the ground beneath Nadal’s feet soon shifted as expected, as if it were made of loose clay. After the victory over Roland Garros, he experienced the first real recession of his career. He fell on the grass, and missed the US Open as a result of a wrist injury and appendicitis. He has not reached the semifinals all year since that French Open title.

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Nadal continued to struggle in 2015. He did not win the title on the Euroclay tour. He suffered five losses on clay – more losses than in any previous five-year period in his career. Nadal’s ranking at the time came in at number 7 in preparation for defending the French Open title.

Meanwhile, Djokovic went into a 36-2 frenzy before the start of the French Open. He carried a 27-match winning streak with Nadal in the quarter-finals. Ranked and ranked No. 1, Djokovic showed no mercy, beating Nadal 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.

“We played most of the matches against him on this court, but I also won one match in 2015 in a straight set,” Djokovic said on Friday. “This is a match that I will look back on and clearly try to take some of the positives out of it and use it tactfully against it.”

The two men have met 11 times since that successful victory for Djokovic – but never in Roland Garros. Djokovic won eight of those fights, but Nadal won three of four on clay. With both men chasing Federer’s men’s record for Grand Slam singles titles (Federer has 20, Nadal 19 and Djokovic 17), the match is more important than the one he fought at the French Open.

Djokovic actually gained a little confidence and inspiration after the last time Nadal played there in the throne room in Chatterjee, but it’s been five years longer to keep the flames burning.

As Djokovic said of Nadal, “He’s still there. He’s Rafa, he’s in the final, and he’s on clay.”

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