No man had ever defeated Rafael Nadal at the semi-final of Roland Garros before Friday. No man had ever defeated him twice at a place that he has come to rule over the last decade and a half. And those streaks came to an end at the hands of an inspired Novak Djokovic who triumphed 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and stayed on course to capture a 19th major and become the first man in over 50 years to win all four Slams twice.
It was a match that lived to the billing and then some.
“It was definitely the best match that I was part of, ever, in Roland Garros. And it was one of the top three matches that I ever played in my entire career, considering the quality of tennis... playing my biggest rival on the court where he has had so much success and has been the dominant force in the last 15-plus years,” said Djokovic.
The crowd was allowed to stay till the end of the match despite the original curfew restrictions in place that would have seen them leave before the last moments.
“The atmosphere, which was completely electric. For both players, there was a lot of support.
Just amazing. I was very happy that there was no curfew at 11:00. I heard there was a special waiver, so they allowed the crowd to stay. Just one of these nights and matches that you will remember forever,” the Serb added.
He was full of praise for Nadal as well.
“It’s hard to find words bigger than all the superlatives you can think of for Rafa’s achievements in Roland Garros,” added 34-year-old Djokovic who now leads their series 30-28.
“Each time you step on the court with him, you know that you have to kind of climb Mount Everest to win against this guy at Roland Garros,” he added.
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