The final anticipated by all. Rafael Nadal Y Novak Djokovic on Roland Garros. Possibly one of the matches that can mark a before and after in tennis history, and whatever the outcome, it will have inexorable consequences in the fight to be the best male tennis player in history. Number one in the world against number three: the almighty king of the clay against the alien capable of winning whatever he sets his mind to. Let’s analyze all his duels in Paris:
– 2006 Roland Garros quarterfinals: Nadal won 6-4, 6-4 and ret
It was the first time that these two true legends of this sport met on the Parisian clay. Djokovic, who was 19 years old at the time, has already begun to show that he would be a player to be reckoned with in important tournaments. After an hour and a quarter of the game, Nadal had not had many difficulties in the match, and Nole could not find any way to undo the good tennis of his rival. Finally some back discomfort forced the Serbian to leave the game and in this way the Spaniard made it to the semifinals.
– Semifinals of Roland Garros 2007: Nadal won 7-5, 6-4 and 6-2
A year later they saw each other again and in very similar situations. Djokovic was gradually improving his performance on the circuit and showed that his game performed wonderfully on any surface. He came to this Roland Garros having previously measured Nadal in Rome (he fell 6-2 and 6-3), but in this match he created some problems for the Balearic Islands especially in the first set. Finally the Spanish went from less to more and ended up getting a pass to the grand final of the tournament where he would end up defeating Roger Federer.
– Roland Garros 2008 semi-finals: Nadal won 6-4, 6-2 and 7-6 (3)
For the third consecutive year they were measured against Philippe Chatrier again and the script of the meeting was going to be a match to last year. The Spaniard managed to win in three sets and in the final he would once again get rid of Roger Federer with great ease. Nadal already had 28 victories of 28 games played at Roland Garros at that time.
– Final of Roland Garros 2012: Nadal won 6-4, 6-3, 2-6 and 7-5
It is possibly one of the most special Roland Garros for Nadal. The Spaniard faced his black beast in the final. Djokovic had just won the last three Grand Slams finals in which he faced Rafa (Wimbledon 2011, US Open 2011 and Australian Open 2012). It was the first final between the two in Paris. Nole knew the importance of the match, since if he managed to defeat the Balearic, he would have won the only Grand Slam that remained in his showcases. Finally he succumbed to the success and solidity of Nadal at the peak of the game.
– Semifinals of Roland Garros 2013: Nadal won 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3) and 9-7
Ladies and gentlemen. We are facing the best match that both have played at Roland Garros. For the first time, Djokovic knew how to fight face to face against the Spanish in his second home. Many will remember this match because of Nole’s grotesque mistake that caused him to lose the match. In the fifth set with 4-3 and 40-40 and serve in his favor, the number one at that time launched himself to close the point in the net and in a hurry in addition to hitting the ball he also touched the net, thus losing point. A beginner’s mistake that cost him a championship without a doubt. Nadal would advance to the final of the tournament to face his compatriot and friend David Ferrer whom he beat comfortably.
– Final of Roland Garros 2014: Nadal won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 and 6-4
Both players met again in the grand final of the tournament. The match was very similar to previous editions but with only one opposite aspect: Djokovic took the lead in the match for the first time. Nadal had to go against the tide to turn the game around. Djokovic with the passage of the minutes was deflated and Nadal returned to reign in the Parisian land.
– 2015 Roland Garros quarterfinals: Djokovic won 7-5, 6-3 and 6-1
Possibly 2015 is one of the most complicated years for Rafael Nadal. He arrived at Roland Garros without having won a previous tournament on the gravel tour, he was in position number seven in the ranking and his fluency on the track was not the same as in previous years. As has happened with Federer this year, the whim of fate saw the two legends meet in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Djokovic knew that he was facing the great moment of beating Nadal in Paris. And so he did. In three sets he destroyed the Spanish and managed to advance to the semifinals. He had a clear path to win the long-awaited Roland Garros, but Wawrinka appeared in the grand final.
– Roland Garros 2020 final: Nadal won 6-0, 6-2 and 7-5
Along with his first Roland Garros and the 2012 final, this final will be remembered by Nadal for many things. The first for defeating the world’s number one with flamboyant ease. The Spaniard thwarted the Serbian’s tactic from start to finish and defeated him with great force. The second thing this final will be remembered for will be for being the match in which Nadal managed to match Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slams.
– Semifinals of Roland Garros 2021: ??????
Who will be victorious in this new installment? A victory would place the two players one step away from adding a new Grand Slam to their record. In that sense, Rafa would be one match away from lifting his 21st Grand Slam crown and, thus, breaking the equality he has with Roger Federer. On the other hand, Nole would see a luxurious possibility: he would be at the gates of the 19th, a fact that would tighten things even more and make each Grand Slam acquire more importance than it already should.