Roland Garros, Day 12: Novak Djokovic versus Rafa Nadal

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will face off on Friday night at Roland Garros. It is amazing that those two have clashed in 57 matches. If you really like to watch the great players, how about 58? Sit down and watch TV and you can stay there foreve
On court, they totally know each other – their strokes, their attitudes – and they can go for big shots when they see openings. There have been so many winners, hundreds of them. In their first match back in 2006, Nadal beat Djokovic, who retired in the Roland Garros quarters. The Spaniard eventually won the Slam for the second time in Paris, and while the Serbian began to win the majors, Nadal continued to beat him, six times at RG. But know this: Djokovic has taken down Nadal a lot,on the hardcourts. In a sense, they are even.

Djokovic has the overall edge 29-28, but in last year’s French final, Nadal smoked Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5. That was a blow out, but yesterday, the super consistent backhand Djokovic said that this week, he is feeling terrific. “I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s have a great battle,” he said.

There were other finals, and Djokovic could not find the solution. Back in 2013, the only time, Djokovic nearly upset Nadal in this tournament. The Serb was toe-to-toe, however, the Spaniard fought and fought and he finally won, 9-7 in the fifth. That is clearly one of their classic matches.
 
“l probably pick Rafa as the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career. The anticipation for the match against him, any match, any surface, any occasion, is always different from any other,” Djokovic said. “His match had it all: falls, crowd, break. It was a lot of intensity. I just felt under tension the entire time. I felt like I missed some of the chances to end the match in the third set. I didn’t want to give him too much opportunities to dictate the match. That’s why it was just super, super stressful to constantly be under pressure on my service games because his service games were quite smooth with the big serve. Yeah, the reaction in the end was just me liberating that tension that was building up for the entire match.”

Nadal has a phenomenal forehand … Djokovic has a better very deep backhand … they are almost tied with the serves. But, with the second serves, the Serb hits it harder. Once again, they are tied with the returns, but Nadal is more comfortable at the net. No matter Nadal’s incredible success on clay, Essentially, they are even.

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