Rafael Nadal recalls: ‘My best Roland Garros final came vs. Novak Djokovic’
Rafael Nadal has been the most dominant figure at a single Major in tennis history. The Spaniard has won 14 Roland Garros titles from 18 trips to Paris, experiencing only three losses at his beloved tournament and staying competitive for almost two decades.
Speaking about his most desired Roland Garros final, Rafa picked the 2020 triumph over his greatest rival, Novak Djokovic. Nadal secured the 13th Roland Garros crown in October 2020 and matched Roger Federer’s record of 20 Major titles.
Despite challenging conditions and a mighty opponent on the other side, Nadal was ready to extend his Parisian reign. He overcame all the obstacles and a roof above his head to score a dominant victory and write history. Rafa’s 13th Roland Garros title came following a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 triumph in two hours and 41 minutes, earning the 100th Parisian win from 102 matches!
Nadal was broken eight times in seven encounters, and Djokovic could not find the return magic to challenge the king of clay. Rafa had 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, controlling his strokes nicely and stealing 51% of the return points to grab seven breaks from 18 opportunities and leave Novak behind.
Djokovic struggled to find his A-game for over two hours, spraying 50 unforced errors and failing to match Nadal’s pace in the opening two sets. Rafa destroyed Novak in the shortest range up to four strokes and earned his victory in that segment after they stayed close to each other in the more advanced exchanges.
The Spaniard made a perfect start and grabbed a break in the encounter’s first game when Novak’s backhand landed long.
Rafael Nadal named the 2020 Roland Garros final as the most favorite one.
Nadal seized another return game at 2-0 to increase the lead and painted a backhand crosscourt winner at 4-0 to extend the gap.
Rafa held at 15 in game six to wrap up the opener with a bagel, the first in the Roland Garros finals since 2008 when he did the same against Roger Federer! The defending champion earned two breaks in set number two and held at 30 in game eight with a service winner to forge a 6-0, 6-2 advantage in an hour and 34 minutes.
They stayed neck and neck until 5-5 in the third after trading breaks in the middle of the set. Novak hit a double fault in that 11th game to lose serve and propel Rafa towards the title after the Spaniard’s another fine hold a few minutes later.
A year later, Djokovic defeated Nadal in the semi-final before the Spaniard got revenge in this year’s quarter-final. “I played better and better during Roland Garros 2020, and I saved my best tennis for the final.
The match against Djokovic was one of my best performances in the title encounters in Paris, considering my strong rival. It was a massive achievement for me, and I was super happy,” Rafael Nadal said.