“Cannot Play Better Clay-Court Tennis Than This”: Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, and Others React to Novak Djokovic’s Nerve-Wracking Win Over Rafael Nadal at French Open

Published 06/11/2021, 6:46 PM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his semi final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

When Novak Djokovic faced Rafael Nadal for the 58th time in the semi-finals of French Open this year, a blockbuster contest was expected by tennis enthusiasts across the globe. As anticipated, the duo didn’t fail in giving fans a memorable contest to remember for years to come.


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Right from the start of the match, both players went toe-to-toe in baseline exchanges. It was Nadal who got the better of the Serb in the first set as he raced ahead to a quick 4-0 lead. Even though Djokovic lost the first set despite consolidating a break point, his game wasn’t enough to stop the flow of the Spaniard.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic with Spain’s Rafael Nadal before their semi final match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Watch this story: Top Reactions of Novak Djokovic when he can’t handle Rafael Nadal’s game


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By the second set, Djokovic’s backhand returns improved to a larger extent as he began to hit deep returns on Nadal’s serve. With the Serb slowly gaining momentum, Nadal tried his best to stay in the match.

But, Djokovic kept asking questions on Nadal’s serve as the latter fumbled to hold his fort. After leveling the match at one set all, fans got to see some high-octane rallies between the two stalwarts in the third set.

Unfortunately, the Spaniard lost the third set and thereby his grip on the semi-final. It became easy for the Serb to win the fourth set to reach the French Open finals.

After the match, the 13-time Roland Garros champion got a standing ovation from the crowd for his valiant effort against Djokovic.

Several ATP and WTA players reacted to Novak Djokovic’s victory over Rafael Nadal at French Open

The monumental matchup also engaged a lot of ATP and WTA players as they tweeted their reactions during the course of the match. Nadal’s Davis Cup partner Feliciano Lopez wrote, “The summary of Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic is that they play a different sport. For many moments it has been possibly the best game I have seen in many years. Always with you Rafa. Thanks!!”

Former world number one Maria Sharapova also praised both the players for their stellar efforts on court Philippe-Chatrier today.

In awe of what we just witnessed for the past 4 hours. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, forever champs!!”, Sharapova tweeted.

After appreciating Stefanos Tsitsipas when he reached his first grand slam final by defeating Alexander Zverev, the Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro also expressed his reaction to the matchup between Nadal and Djokovic.

Tremendous game. Can’t believe what they played. Thanks Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic. I dream of meeting them again.”, del Potro mentioned.

Legendary tennis player Chris Evert termed the semi-final match as the greatest match ever played in tennis.

Former world number one men’s player Andy Roddick also appreciated Novak Djokovic for the incredible effort and grit he showed on court today.

Pleasure to watch this matchup. Unreal effort/execution from Novak. He was the better player on the day. What a match….”

Even though Rafael Nadal lost the match today, the Spaniard’s effort was still legendary as it took more than 4 hours for Djokovic to defeat him.

Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray, who is trying to make his mark at the Wimbledon Championships this year, also lauded Nadal and Djokovic.

You cannot play better clay court tennis than this. It’s perfect”, tweeted Murray.

After the victory, a lot of tennis fans and critics rooted for Djokovic to become the greatest tennis player of all time.

French player, Lucas Pouille thanked both Djokovic and Nadal for giving the sporting world a memorable evening to remember.

Thank you Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for this exceptional sports evening”, tweeted the player.

Former tennis player from India, Somdev Devvarman tweeted the possibility of a golden slam for Novak Djokovic this year. If a player wins a Olympic gold medal along with all four grand slams in one calendar year, it’s termed a golden slam. 


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At one point, Djokovic looked down and out in the semi-final matchup. After the first half an hour, it appeared as if a repeat of 2020 Roland Garros finals was on cards for the Serb.

But, Djokovic’s relentless push yielded results right from the second set as Nadal’s level began to drop slowly. With this victory, the Serb is a sure shot favorite to win the French Open crown this year.


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Sagar Ashtakoula

334 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.