Nadal said yesterday that it could be his last match at Roland Garros…
That’s the reality. We never know what will happen in one year. It’s clear that he’s playing a match where there’s a risk of losing. I think he is saying that more in that sense, but I’m confident and I hope it’s not his last match in Paris.
The match will be played at night. How does that affect him?
The conditions are much livelier during the day, the ball bounces higher and Rafa’s game is more dangerous. Two years ago they played under the roof, it was cold and at night. It was a close atmosphere and he played an amazing game. The preference was to play in the day, but it doesn’t matter; it’ll be at night and we’ll try and win.
- 10 things to know about the upcoming clash between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros | tennis.com
Nadal has a record 22 career wins over No. 1s. It’s the most in either ATP or WTA rankings history, and potentially a good omen for the Spaniard as he takes on the No. 1-ranked Djokovic. Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams have the next-most career wins over No. 1s with 19, 18 and 17, respectively.
- Preview: Djokovic v Nadal by Numbers | Roland Garros
The average ranking of Nadal’s opponents this Roland-Garros is 64.75 through four rounds, with world No.139 Corentin Moutet being the lowest-ranked rival he has faced so far. The average ranking of Djokovic’s opponents is 87, with world No.195 Aljaz Bedene being his lowest-ranked victim so far.
Tuesday will witness the first time two men with 20 or more Grand Slams won by each will square off in a match.
- ‘The most important match of the last 10 years’ – Tim Henman previews Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal quarter-final | Eurosport
Asked about the significance of the match, former British No. 1 Henman said on Eurosport: “There was [Roger] Federer v Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2019 but the consequences of this, with Rafa on 21 Slams and Djokovic on 20, trying to draw level, I think in the men’s game it’s the most important match in the last 10 years.”
“I think we are going to see a fast match in terms of ball striking and aggressiveness,” said Wilander. “The crowd are going to favour Rafa because he’s the only one here who is always the favourite and they still root for him; they usually root for the underdog. I think if that happens Novak is so good at turning that into a positive and using that adversity to fire himself up.”
- Nadal and Djokovic Meet Again, With Gen Z Breakout in Wings | The New York Times
“Unfortunately, every year they play one round earlier here,” said Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic’s coach. “Two years ago it was the final. Last year it was the semis and now the quarters, but it’s probably the best quarterfinal ever in the history of the French Open.”
After facing off 58 times (and in a few more exhibition matches), there can be no secrets on court. Nadal knows that breaking down the elastic Djokovic from the baseline is one of the toughest asks in tennis. Djokovic knows that regaining control of a rally once Nadal has begun to dictate its terms with his whipping forehand is every bit as daunting.
“Watch for Rafa’s forehand down the line,” Cahill said. “He will try and stretch Novak to that side as his defense on the backhand is crazy good.”
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