“Biggest Challenge in Our Sport” – Novak Djokovic on Facing Rafael Nadal at French Open 2020 Finals

Published 10/09/2020, 5:36 PM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – October 9, 2020 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his semi final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


World Number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is through to the finals of French Open 2020 after taking out Stefanos Tsitsipas in five-sets 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1. Novak failed to convert a match in the third set and they pushed the thrilling match to the distance.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Up next, the Serbian ace will take on his arch-rival Rafael Nadal in the finals of Paris Major. King of Clay, Nadal will tackle with ‘the Djokovic challenge’ to lift his 13th Roland Garros on the Parisian Terre-battue.

For all the players on the ATP Tour, facing Rafa on clay has been one of the biggest challenges in their tennis careers. Likewise, Novak highlighted the same point and mentioned Court Philippe-Chatrier is Rafa’s backyard. Beating Rafa on the Parisian dirt is next to impossible.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – October 9, 2020 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his semi final match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

“Yes, I remained very calm, in appearance, because inside, it was different (smile). Over here, obviously, it is Nadal’s house. He has won all the titles,” Novak Djokovic shared on the court.

“But here, I won against him in 2015 in the quarterfinals, and I hope to play well (in the finals). To face him on clay, especially at Roland Garros, that’s the biggest challenge in our sport. Yes, we’ll see, I am full of joy to be in the finals and I am motivated to win.”

With the victory over Tsitsipas on Friday night, Djokovic advanced to the 27th Grand Slam final. As a result, he will lock horns with Nadal for the 56th in his career.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – October 9, 2020 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after winning his semi final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

On the clay courts, ‘Rafole’ have locked horns 24 times. The Spaniard champ has won 17 times against the Serbian maestro. Their most recent meeting came at ATP Cup 2020, wherein Nadal lost to Djokovic. Their most recent Slam meeting was at the Australian Open 2019 finals, where the Serbian won in straight sets.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

On the Parisian clay, Novak is one of the two men in the tennis fraternity to secure a win over Nadal on Court Philippe-Chatrier. He did so in 2015 in what was their last meeting at Roland Garros.

Despite being the second seed, Rafa remains the heavy favorite to clinch the title at French Open 2020 against a formidable opponent who has looked imperious all season.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Mahalakshmi Murali

1907 articles

Mahalakshmi Murali joined EssentiallySports in 2018 as a tennis author and has gone on to pen more than 1800 engaging articles, probing into various aspects of the sport and its illustrious players. With her expertise on the sport, Mahalakshmi has interviewed stalwarts from the sport such as Serena WIlliams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou and Kevin Anderson’s physio, Carlos Costa. Equipped with her vast experience and a keen understanding of the sport, Mahalakshmi now co-heads the tennis department.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT