WATCH: When Novak Djokovic Applauded Rafael Nadal’s Mind-Boggling Tweener at Madrid Open

Published 05/01/2021, 12:10 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain cross paths during change of ends during the Men’s Singles Final match during day 14 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)


The rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has produced some of the greatest matches in tennis history. One of their 56 epic battles was the 2011 Mutua Madrid Open final.

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Notably, the Serbian played his first final in Madrid against a two-time champion of the tournament. Additionally, there was no bigger threat than the Spaniard on a clay surface.

In the end, Djokovic came through to win his first title in the Spanish capital. But Nadal made the night memorable with his unbelievable shot-making adroitness.

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Rafael Nadal’s epic tweener against Novak Djokovic

The 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal is undisputedly one of the most successful tennis players on clay. However, his biggest competitor on the red soil has been the Serbian ace, Novak Djokovic, for the past 15 years.

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)

Chasing his third consecutive title on home turf, the Spaniard had again made it to the finals in Madrid in 2011. But his dream run ended in two straight sets, 7-5, 6-4 against the now 18-time Grand Slam winner.

However, even after ten years, the night holds a special place for ardent tennis fans. It brought them one of the most incredible tweeners of all time.

After winning the first set, Djokovic was 0-30 down in the first game of the second set. Thus, he put his A-game in front and engineered the following point masterfully. But what hit him next was something neither he nor the loud Spanish crowed expected.

Deservedly, Djokovic applauded his arch-rival while the crowd came on their feet. Such gestures are what make the sport more loveable.

Most significantly, the Madrid Open final was the third of their 11 consecutive encounters in the final. Overall, the Serbian has a 29-27 head-to-head record against the Spaniard.

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Are Nadal and Djokovic playing in Madrid 2021?

After a decade, Nadal will play at the Mutua Madrid Open 2021 as the top seed. Moreover, Djokovic decided not to play this year in favor of the home tournament in Belgrade.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after winning the match point during their final singles match daring day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

The duo is heading towards the much-anticipated French Open 2021, where they have met eight times previously. The King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, has a clean 8-0 record so far.

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Considering their hunger for titles, more epic finals as the Madrid Open final are not far away. Let us see where they clash for the first time this year.

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Purav Joshi

678 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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