Has Novak Djokovic Defeated Rafael Nadal at French Open?

Published 05/24/2021, 1:00 PM CDT


Rafael Nadal has always been the greatest challenge to overcome for any player at the French Open. Over the years, his arch-rival, Novak Djokovic, has reached the closing distance to defeat the Spaniard at the iconic Roland Garros.

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Nadal’s historic 13 titles at the French Open along with the image of his bulging biceps, ripping forehand winners and incredible physical endurance has created an aura of invincibility around him.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Until 2014, the closest Djokovic came to beating Nadal at the French Open was in the semifinals of 2013. Regarded as of the ‘greatest matches’ in French Open history, the Serbian stretched Nadal to the fifth set and despite being a break-up at the beginning of the set, he eventually lost 9-7 in the nerve-wracking decider.

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The following year, the duo met in the finals of the 2014 French Open, a match Nadal won comfortably in four sets. It extended the Spaniard’s win-loss record against Djokovic at the French Open to a flawless 6-0.

Novak Djokovic creates history after beating Rafael Nadal

However, the tables turned at the 2015 French Open. Entering the tournament, Nadal, for the first time since 2004 failed to win a single European clay-court title before the Grand Slam.

While Djokovic set foot at the backdrop of winning his second Monte Carlo title and his fourth trophy at the Italian Open. Oozing with confidence, Djokovic eventually faced Nadal at the quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open.

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In a sheer display of greatness, Djokovic defeated his arch-nemesis in straight sets and became the second man after Robin Soderling to defeat Nadal at the French Open.

With the historic victory, Djokovic ended Nadal’s five-year winning streak at Roland Garros and concluded his long chase of outlasting the ‘King of Clay.’

To date, it remains Djokovic’s sole victory over Nadal at the French Open. So far, over his illustrious career, Djokovic has won just one title at the French Open, which came in 2016.

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With both players still going strong, hopefully, the tennis fraternity will get to witness many more of their battles at the French Open.

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Kshitij Tayal

395 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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