I’ll remember it forever, says Djokovic after knocking down Nadal in Paris
World number one Novak Djokovic said his victory over Rafa Nadal in the epic Roland Garros semi-final on Friday was one of the best three games he has played and will be remembered forever.
The 34-year-old Serb lost the first five games but fought back beautifully to win 3-6 6-3 7-6 (4) 6-2 in front of a rowdy crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier.
He will now face Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final, where he will seek a second Roland Garros title and a 19th Grand Slam title overall – to fall behind the men’s record held by Nadal and Roger Federer.
“Definitely the best game I have played at Roland Garros, and the three best games I have played in my entire career,” Djokovic told reporters after inflicting only a third loss at Roland Garros on the 13th time. champion Nadal.
“Considering the quality of tennis, playing my biggest rival on the court where he’s been so successful and the dominant force for the past 15+ years, and the atmosphere that was completely electric.
“One of those nights and games that you will remember forever.”
Omens didn’t look good for Djokovic when he lost 5-0 in the first set despite a good play. There were horrible similarities to last year’s final he lost to the Spaniard. 6-0 6-2 7-5, but this time he’s regained control.
“The start of the game was a bit like last year’s final,” said Djokovic, who received massive support throughout the four hours of competition.
“I wasn’t too nervous even though I was down 0-5 because it felt different from last year’s final, because I just hit the ball better and felt better in the together.
“I kind of found my rhythm, I found my rhythm. There was no turning back. Even though I lost the first set, I found my game. Things started. to be well. “
THE COOLEST GUY
Even for a man of Djokovic’s physical and mental resources, the emotions of Friday’s victory could leave a hangover and he will be fully aware that the last time he beat Nadal at Roland Garros in 2015 he finished. by losing the final against Stan Wawrinka.
“I’m obviously not the coolest guy right now. But the good thing is I have a day and a half to rejuvenate,” he said.
“I’m going to enjoy this victory a bit. I think I deserve after this big win to relax a bit without thinking about the next opponent, even if it’s a Grand Slam final.”
Djokovic saved a set point at 5-6 in a pivotal third set full of spellbinding rallies before taking the tie-break. He then managed the last six games of the game to bring his record over rival Nadal to 30-28.
Incredibly, Djokovic is the first player in 116 appearances to beat Nadal in best of five sets on clay after losing the opener.
When asked what it means to beat Nadal in a Grand Slam he has owned almost exclusively since 2005, Djokovic said it was difficult to express.
“I mean, he’s been the most dominant player in Roland Garros history. He’s lost two, now three times, in his entire career here,” said world number one Djokovic.
“The number of victories he has won in this field is
unbelievable. Every time you enter the field with him, you
know that you kind of have to climb Mount Everest to win.
“It’s just one of those games that I will remember for a very long time, not just because I won the game but because of the atmosphere, the occasion was very special.”
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