For a split second it hurts, Raphael Nadal It’s frozen, waiting to see if it’s the heavy chip it just fired Novak Djokovic It will be called the ace or the outer ball. That silence confirmed. Nadal sank to his knees, growing to such an extent that he seemed to be laughing while he was kneeling in the red dirt, pumping his arms in celebration.
Nadal had many reasons to respond with great happiness. He had just cemented his other world record in the French Open finals to 13-0 and a draw Roger FedererHe is the all-time record with his twentieth Grand Slam men’s singles title. Among other things, the 34-year-old “King of Clay” also became the first player of the open era to win four Grand Slam singles titles without losing a single set, and the first player in that over 50 years to win six major titles since reaching Thirty years old.
Trying to understand how he accomplished all of this could strain his mind, and focusing on his fitness, left-wing wrestling, or the RPMs he generates with this fierce frontal kick is not the best place to start. Instead, he moved on to the first words spoken by Nadal after dismantling Djokovic, who held the record 37-1 for 2020 in the match but surrendered to Nadal in 2 hours 41 minutes, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
“First of all, congratulations to Novak for another great tournament,” Nadal told a limited audience due to the Coronavirus pandemic, to 1,000 spectators. The record Nadal now shares with Federer seemed out of his mind as he continued to point to the last time he last knocked out with Djokovic in the 2019 Australian Open final. “Sorry for the day, you know. But in Australia. [Open] He killed me many times ago. Today was for me. This is part of the game. “
Nadal wasn’t gloating, he isn’t the vengeful type. Nadal was not gloating, he was not vengeful. But being “killed” in the final in Melbourne in 2019 shocked him deeply.
At the time, Nadal was taking another prolonged break (five months) due to an injury. He advanced to the final without losing a set, but Djokovic played on a different level, giving Nadal his first successive set loss in a Grand Slam tournament match. Nadal did not know what his future held.
Djokovic allowed Nadal only eight matches in that match in Oz. Nadal lost one less on Sunday but said it does not count.
“I’m not a big fan of revenge, is it? I just accept when things don’t go the way I like,” Nadal told a news conference after the match. “Today was a bit the opposite, especially for two and a half groups. But I don’t care much. On the other hand, beating Novak with this result is because I did a lot of things very well.”
Nadal had to endure a lot of tension and suspicion on his way to finding his mental comfort and the “A” match again. As 2019 wore on, Nadal found himself struggling, unable to make it to the Final for three months.
“Mentally I wasn’t enjoying [tennis]He later said about that period.[I was] A lot of anxiety [my] Health, frankly, is very negative. “
After the semi-final loss to Dominic Tim In late April in Barcelona, Nadal locked himself in his hotel room to decide whether he should be away from the match for some time to rediscover his enthusiasm or “drastically change” his attitude.
Nadal chose this last option and went 35-2 in matches until the final tournament of the regular season of 2019, with wins in the French and US Open championships. Djokovic wasn’t resting on his laurels either. He won another Wimbledon title and finished the year 11-57 with two major titles like Nadal.
Tim dashed any hopes of replaying the 2019 Australian Open final this year by knocking out Nadal. The coronavirus pandemic quickly dashes other hopes of re-igniting the competition now led by Djokovic by a slim margin of 29-27.
Nadal spent a fair amount of time during the lockdown to help raise millions of dollars to help citizens infected with the COVID-19 virus. Time and time again remind anyone asking that the pandemic be a more important focus than professional sports. He repeated his message on Sunday while his epic achievement couldn’t get the pandemic out of his mind. He told the crowd:
“I want to send a message to everyone all over the world. We are facing one of the worst moments we remember in this world, we are facing and fighting against this virus. Just go on, be positive, we will go through this together, and we will win the virus soon.”
Nadal’s activities and concerns during the pandemic, including his lack of interest in playing tournaments without spectators, led to a difficult pass in the “double-in-the-bubble” tournaments that capped the US Open in New York. He played only three matches in preparation for Roland Garros, and lost the unexpected quarter-final at the Italian Open Diego Schwartzman.
By contrast, Djokovic has been among the most active players during the pandemic. Although his Adria Tour exhibition turned into a disaster, with some players, including Djokovic and his wife, infected with the Coronavirus, the Serbian national champion has resumed playing in great style. His only loss in three tournaments that led to the French Open was an unexpected failure in the fourth round of the US Open.
Several critics argued that the cooler autumn conditions and the change in balls absorbing more moisture and mud than those used in previous years – a development criticized by many including Nadal – turned the French Open in favor of Djokovic.
“I was also thinking that these conditions are more favorable for me,” Djokovic admitted in his post-match press conference. “I was feeling great the whole tournament, playing great tennis, winning in Roma, and being very confident about my game. But yeah, Rafa proved everyone wrong. He played a great game today.”
Nadal’s keys were relatively simple. As Patrick McEnroe, an analyst at ESPN, said, “I don’t care about the circumstances, Rafael Nadal is the best clay-court player in the world.”
Nadal played this final with his signature fierceness. If a high forehand did not rebound as though it were under warm, sunny conditions in Paris, it had enough sting to force Djokovic into a hopeless defense.
The shots that Djokovic used so successfully in his previous matches? Their experience seemed to disrupt the rhythm he loved at the gatherings more than it disturbed Nadal. The all-or-nothing nature of the shot-drop ploy backfired so many times on Djokovic that his attempts seemed to be less an offensive tactic than a way to save rallies he knew he couldn’t win.
Nadal made 14 easy fouls to Djokovic’s 52. Although Djokovic scored a strong serve transfer rate (67% in the penalty area), Nadal came back so well that Djokovic was only able to win 50% of his first serve points. He did almost the same in winning the second serve points.
Djokovic’s hitting more outright winners than Nadal (38-31) indicates that the only way Djokovic would have earned points in this match was through a breakdown.
“he is [Nadal] “He surprised me with the way he played, and the quality of tennis he was producing,” Djokovic said. I mean, it’s exceptional. Playing a perfect match, especially in the first two sets. He was the best player on the field today. “
Correctly, Nadal downplayed the notable historical details of his victory, the fact that he and Federer, friends and rivals, now have more Grand Slam titles than anyone who has ever played the game. Djokovic, with 17 majors, may join or outshine them, but no one else is in sight.
Nadal denied that he was indifferent to the major title record, and assured that he would like to end his career with the most Grand Slam titles. But he added, “I did [it] My way throughout my career. Work well. I won’t think about Novak all the time [has] This, Roger wins the last. You cannot always be unhappy that your neighbor is [has] A house bigger than you or a bigger boat or [has] A better phone. You have to live your personal life, right? “
For Nadal, this means not letting anything overshadow his private relationship with the City of Paris and Philippe Chatrier court.
“Winning here means everything to me,” he told the crowd just minutes after the final. “This is not the time, frankly, to think today about twenty [majors] And the equation of Roger’s great number. For me, today is just a Roland Garros story. The love story I have with this city and this court is unforgettable. “
Nadal will definitely remember the details about Sunday’s unique and historic October Final at Roland Garros. Djokovic is likely trying to forget most of that.
“He continues to advance,” Djokovic said. “It doesn’t seem like it is stopping him from getting ahead. It’s amazing. All the superlatives you can use, he deserves it.”