Roland-Garros: Djokovic welcomes Nadal’s “phenomenal” level

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He had never received such a slap. He had never left a court after a Grand Slam final having suffered a terrible and humiliating 6-0. Usually it is he who teaches the lesson. But for his 27th final in a Major, Novak Djokovic suffered a real correction from Rafael Nadal. The Serbian was swept away, crushed, in three speedy sets (6-0, 6-2, 7-5) and 2h41 minutes of almost one-sided play. It was not the world number 1 on the court but a little boy facing the ogre of ocher.

At a press conference, Djokovic, who fell for the first time this season “on a regular basis” – he had been disqualified in the round of 16 of the US Open after having inadvertently hit a linesman while hitting a ball -, is income on his service. A handsome player, he especially paid tribute to his executioner of the day. “I don’t have much to say,” says the Serb. He passed me in the game. He played better, he didn’t miss a thing. He played wonderfully well tactically. I tried different things, but few worked in the first two sets. I could have done better, especially during the first two sets, but his level was absolutely phenomenal. He played a perfect match. “

Overtaken by the rhythm during the first two sets, the “Djoker” finally freed himself in the third round. A too late and futile reaction. “I had my chances but I didn’t know how to seize them,” he says. I ran into a better player than me today. It’s just one of those days to say hats off. “

A defeat that challenges

Appeared injured in the neck and left arm during his quarter-final against Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic cut the discussion short and assured that “everything was fine”, that he was “ready for the match”. Yet this defeat calls out. It is all the more surprising since many observers thought that the special conditions of this autumnal Roland Garros – with a heavier ball which lessens the effects of the Spaniard – would have favored Djokovic.

“I thought so too, agreed the person concerned. I felt good, I had played well in Rome, I was confident in my game. But Rafa proves that I was wrong. This is why he is a player apart. Tactically, I might have rushed too much to try and play shorter points, winning shots. Usually when I hit the ball, after two or three rallies, I manage to make a winning shot and win the point against 9 out of 10 players. With him, that was not the case. “

PODCAST. Djokovic, portrait of a huge champion short of recognition

Djokovic, who was in search of his 18th Grand Slam title and who could become the first player of the Open era (since 1968) to win each of the Grand Slam tournaments twice, will have to wait a little longer before dethroning Federer and Nadal from the history books. “A defeat like this is never a pleasure but often the biggest defeats serve as great lessons, as a tennis player but also as a person”, concludes the Serbian.

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