Tall numbers element the Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal rivalry. They have clashed a report 57 occasions, with the head-to-head poised at 29-28. The world No. 1 trails Nadal 1-7 at Roland Garros, the place the Spaniard has triumphed an astonishing 13 occasions.
On Friday, the titans of tennis will meet within the French Open semifinals, whereas the opposite final 4 conflict pits fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas towards the sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev.
Djokovic-Nadal. The unstoppable pressure and the immovable object. Neither will blink, one will win. “It’s not like any other match,” Djokovic stated of enjoying Nadal. “It’s the largest problem you may have, enjoying on clay, towards Nadal, on this court docket (Philippe Chatrier) on which he has had a lot success. It does not get greater than that.”
The Serb, who put out Italian Matteo Berrettini in a drama-crammed, final-eight conflict, saluted his storied rivalry with the Spaniard. “Each time we face each other there’s that extra tension and expectations,” the 34-12 months-previous stated. “The vibes are different walking on the court with him. That’s why our rivalry has been historic for this sport. I’ve been privileged to play him so many times.”
Djokovic, who has credited Nadal and Roger Federer for elevating the bar, stated, “I’ll 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.”
Nadal, who different the tempo of play and used the angles which are a go-to for a left-hander within the remaining final 12 months, put issues in perspective. “It’s going to be an important match for both of us. But it is a semifinal, is not a final. That’s a big difference,” the 20-time main winner stated. “The winner of that match needs to keep going, a lot of work to do to try to achieve the final goal here.”
Nadal, 35, listed the professionals and cons of taking over the world No. 1. “The best thing is you know that you need to play your best tennis. Always a big challenge. That’s good because that’s why we are practising,” he stated, earlier than including, “The negative thing, it’s difficult because you play against one of the best players of the history.”
The positives and negatives apart, will probably be a battle of wills. They’ll take a look at and tease, push and punish to take that subsequent step within the match, a place within the title-match.
TSITSIPAS TAKES ON ZVEREV
The newest chapter of Djokovic v Nadal has overshadowed Friday’s different semifinal between Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and sixth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany. They have met seven occasions but simply as soon as on clay in Madrid in 2019 when Tsitsipas triumphed.