Rafael Nadal Says ‘Slower’ and ‘Less Top-Spin’ Conditions Were Favorable to Novak Djokovic at French Open 2021 Semifinals

Published 06/11/2021, 11:52 PM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal during his semi final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


The second French Open 2021 semifinal hosted two of the greatest rivals of tennis, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. And living up to their expectations, the duo staged a performance of a lifetime.

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However, it was an unfortunate night for the 13-time champion as he lost for the first time since 2015 at Roland-Garros. Nadal lost 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 2-6 to Djokovic after battling for four hours and 13 minutes.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after winning their semi final match REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Undoubtedly, the outcome was something not many would have expected. For the same, the Spaniard explained what went wrong for him against the Serb.

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

Rafael Nadal on unfavorable conditions against Novak Djokovic at French Open 2021

In the opening set between Nadal and Djokovic, the Spaniard had a 5-0 lead. Following that, he closed the set at 6-3 but could not claim any other afterward.

Moreover, before this match, the 20-time Grand Slam champion had never lost after winning the first set on clay. So what shifted the momentum? Nadal revealed that in his post-match press conference.

He said, “Probably, the conditions were a little bit slower later on. I’ve been playing with very warm and high bounces, and during the night, the situation goes a little bit the other way. So, bounces are a little bit less, and the ball gets less topspin, and that’s more favorable for him, the condition.”

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his semi final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

But Nadal did not want to take anything away from Djokovic’s victory. Hence, he added that the Serbian made the most of the situation, whereas he couldn’t.

“But anyway, [it] doesn’t matter, that’s tennis, and the player who gets used to the conditions better is the player who deserves to win. So no doubt he deserved to win,” Nadal concluded.

Now, the Spaniard would take a short break and spend some time with family. He will be soon back on the court for the grass-court season coming up.

Watch this story: Top Dramatic Tennis Moments From The 2021 Clay Season

Djokovic favorite for the Roland-Garros title after taking out Nadal

The Serbian World No.1 Novak Djokovic reached his sixth final at Roland-Garros, where he only won once in 2016. He will take on the maiden Grand Slam finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday, June 13.

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The stage is set for the two to win their biggest reward for the two arduous weeks. Given the 18 Grand Slam victories experience, the Serb would know how to close the match at ease against the 22-year-old Greek.

Do you think Tsitsipas can upset the World No.1 to clinch his maiden Grand Slam title at French Open 2021? The world will find out in two days.

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Also Read: “Came From a Really Small Place”: Stefanos Tsitsipas Breaks Down in Tears After Creating History at French Open 2021

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Purav Joshi

966 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.

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