“It’s a Miracle We Are Breathing”: Rafael Nadal on Sharing the Same Half With Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at French Open 2021

Published 05/29/2021, 12:27 AM EDT
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerlan wait to go on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

13-time champion Rafael Nadal will begin his campaign, chasing his 14th title tomorrow at the French Open 2021. But this time, he will have to gi through arch-rivals Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic en route to the final.


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It is the first time after the Australian Open 2020 where the big three of tennis are present at a Grand Slam tournament. Given their age, the Spaniard considers even being a part of major tournaments ‘a miracle.’

Read More: “We Will Not Be the Athletes That We Are Today”: Rafael Nadal Voices the Importance of Media Following Naomi Osaka’s Boycott


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Nadal, Federer, Djokovic in the same half at the French Open 2021

In his pre-tournament press conference, Nadal reflected on being in the same draw as Federer and Djokovic. To begin with, he shed some light on their age which the tennis world finds very hard to contemplate.

“Now Roger is 39, almost 40. I am almost 35; Novak is 34, so it is what it is; time is passing,” Nadal said.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 07: Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland embrace at the net after their mens singles semi-final match during Day thirteen of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros on June 07, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Being humble as he is, the Spaniard then expressed that it is unbelievable that they are still playing at Grand Slam tournaments. “We are so old, so old, it’s a miracle we are breathing,” he continued.

Furthermore, Rafa shared the possibility that he might not face Federer and Djokovic at all. However, when he does, which will be in the semifinals, he wants to be ready before that.

“Being in the same half of the draw is another story; we will see what happens,” Rafa said. “Maybe we won’t even meet with any of the other two. I think they can only meet in quarters, and I can meet them in semis, so I have a big task ahead to get there.”

Nadal will play his first-round match against 21-year-old Australian Alexei Popyrin. They met once this year at the Madrid Open, where the Spaniard comfortably won 6-3, 6-3.

Read More: “Totally Supportive Of Weighted Clay Seeding for Roland Garros”: Andy Roddick Objects Rafael Nadal’s 3rd Seed at French Open 2021

Rafael Nadal chasing 21 Grand Slams record

Presently, the Mallorcan legend is leveled with Federer at 20 Grand Slams each, with Djokovic behind at 18. Inarguably, French Open 2021 is the best opportunity for Nadal to take the lead for the first time.

2018 French Open Tennis Tournament – Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia while playing a tie break doubles exhibition match against Simone Halep of Romania and Alexander Zverev of Germany on Court Philippe Chatrier during a packed Children’s Day at Roland Garros before the start of the 2018 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 26th 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Additionally, he has got all the preparations he needed from the lead-up tournaments. Thus, it is now time for Rafa to keep the show running on the Parisian clay.


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Do you think Nadal will win the French Open for a fifth straight year?


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Also Read: Boris Becker Reveals Why Rafael Nadal is “Ahead” of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer


Purav Joshi

806 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.