Rafael Nadal, winner of the last four editions, titled thirteen times at Roland Garros, will not experience a new final this Sunday. The Spaniard was eliminated by Novak Djokovic in a highly charged atmosphere, after an electric match.
At Roland Garros,
Roland-Garros dreamed of a crazy atmosphere, a benchmark match. The expected semi-final between Novak Djokovic, the ambitious n ° 1 (who dreams of all records) and Rafael Nadal (the master of the place) ticked all the boxes: intensity, twists and turns, suspense, level of play, atmosphere of fire.
Rafael Nadal had only experienced two defeats at Roland Garros (in 2009, in the round of 16 against the Swede Robin Söderling and in 2015 in the quarter-finals against Novak Djokovic). The rest was a collection of records (105 victories), the story of insane domination marked by thirteen titles. The world n ° 3 who left foot to the ground during the semi-final against Novak Djokovic (5-0 in 30 ‘, a well negotiated 1st round) was then manhandled by the catchy, incisive Serbian. On his 2e match point, Novak Djokovic won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in 4:11. It is he who will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas, this Sunday, in the final of the French Open.
Touched, dignified, Rafael Nadal, at a press conference, confided: “At first he was not playing very well. He was making mistakes. He had a break point in the first game, then he had game points in the next. It could have been 2-0 for him, it was for me. Then there was 4-0. And he started to make fewer mistakes. At first it was hot. We played with balls that bounced a lot and then finally, as time went by, the ball bounced less. The lift was less efficient. Which is more favorable to him. Regardless, in the end, it’s tennis. The player who best adapts to the conditions is the one who deserves to win. So he deserved to win.“
“It was a great fight”
Rafael Nadal, faithful to his legend, gave everything but his game had some failures: 55 faults (including 26 backhand), 8 double faults and only 59% of points won on his 1er service and 40% of points on his 2e service. “It’s sport. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I have tried to give the best. It was probably not my best day. Even though I fought, that I put in a lot of effort, the position on the shots was not effective enough. Against a player like him, who takes the ball early, you can’t get him out of his place, it’s very difficult… There were incredible points, and there was also the fatigue that accumulated . We make mistakes. If you want to win, you can’t afford that kind of mistake. It was a great fight. I tried to do my best, it wasn’t my day.“
Before taking his leave, Rafael Nadal underlined the incredible atmosphere which dressed the match: “It was fantastic. I can only thank the audience again and again. I was very tired at times but I drew my energy from the cheers of the audience. It was a game full of emotion, to feel the fervor of the public and that’s what carried me throughout my career, so I have to thank them.Rafael Nadal turned on his heels. Roland-Garros will not forget the crazy evening of this legendary semi-final …