Rafael Nadal conquered his tenth Rome ATP Masters 1000 defeating in the final Novak Djokovic for 7-5, 1-6 and 6-3. The manacorí regained hegemony in the Italian capital, where the Serbian had won his fifth trophy in October 2020, a different edition due to the pandemic.
Nadal reaffirmed his status as king of clay two weeks after Roland Garros. Djokovic said that he had consolidated his assault on the Parisian Grand Slam, “perhaps the greatest challenge in sport due to Rafa’s dominance,” he comments whenever he can. He faces it, he considers, with guarantees “because I have recovered my game in recent days, I am playing as I want to do on clay. I have gotten many positive things for Paris ”.
Djokovic was satisfied with his performance despite the loss. And Italy is a country to which he processes a special affection because it was where he completed his training as a teenager fleeing from the Balkan War.
In a pleasant atmosphere, ‘Nole’ spoke before the Foro Italico, which had 25% of the public capacity, in his perfect Italian. And he was witty with a topic that he is passionate about, the generational change. It caused Rafa Nadal’s smile, which not even the sanitary mask could hide, nor his physical and emotional fatigue won the trophy, and the general ovation.
Rafa, me and Federer are the Next Gen
“We are reinvented, Rafa, me and Federer, the Next Gen (New Generation). We are the Next Gen ”, released Djokovic, who will fulfill 34 years on May 22, being the youngest of the ‘Big 3’. Nadal will 35 on June 3 and Roger will celebrate 40 on August 8.
“I’ve said it a thousand times. And I will repeat it as many times as they ask me. Of course the Next Gen is here, it has arrived. But here we are, winning the big tournaments, the Grand Slams. The kids are consolidating in the top 5, the top 10. Nothing new. But we are still there ”. He in the first place, with Rafa Nadal third and Roger Federer, who disputes in Geneva this week his second tournament after the double knee operation, in eighth place.
We joke that old men don’t give up
Already on Saturday, in Rome, Djokovic had affectionately scolded Nadal in the locker room. “I had seen, I don’t know where, that Rafa said that we are older. And I do not agree, “he announced. And he explained his meeting with Rafa after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas: “We joked for a moment that old men don’t give up. We are showing that we do not back down from the attacks of the Next Gen, that we have a different energy ”.
Rafa Nadal, attentive to Novak Djokovic’s speech in Italian after his end in Rome
‘Nole’ revalidated his dominance at the Australian Open. Without ‘Big 3 at the Miami Masters 1000, the Polish won Hubert hurkacz. Already with the Balkan and Nadal in the box, Stefanos Tsitsipas it premiered in Monte Carlo, then losing at the Godó against Rafa. In Madrid he triumphed for the second time Alexander Zverev. Rome was for the Balearic Islands and Roland Garros will tell a lot about where they are. As well as then Wimbledon.