Last Sunday, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic stepped on Court Philippe-Chatrier and prepared for the title match at Roland Garros. In one of the most important encounters of the 21st century, the 12-time champion Nadal defeated the number 1 in the world, Djokovic, in two hours and 41 minutes 6: 0, 6: 2, 7: 5 after an almost flawless performance and secured himself the 13th
Place title in Paris and 20th major overall. Standing apart with two majors, Djokovic was eager to get one more step closer to Nadal in the GOAT race, making the slowest start and ruining his chances for the second major of the season.
Nadal created a clear game plan and delivered aggressive tennis that surprised Djokovic and knocked him off the pitch in the first two sets. The Serb recovered in the third game to avoid disaster.
He stayed in touch until 5-5 before Rafa made a crucial break that took him to the finish line. Famous coach Patrick Mouratoglou said Novak Djokovic wasn’t ready to challenge Nadal that day, make a slow start and look for the right shots.
On the flip side, Rafa knew what to do from the start and chose the right tactics that would secure him the title. Nadal had 31 winners and 14 casual mistakes and stole 51% of return points to control the scoreboard.
Novak sprayed 52 casual mistakes, spent more than two hours looking for his best tennis and, despite solid efforts, suffered a massive loss in the third set. Rafa lost the serve once and got seven breaks out of 18 opportunities, pressed hard on the return and played Novak in the shortest range up to four strokes.
Just like in the 2008 final against Roger Federer, Nadal won the first set 6-0, played tennis almost flawlessly and made three breaks against the world’s leading player. After 45 minutes, he finished with an ace at 5-0.
Mouratoglou: Djokovic didn’t enter the pitch with the same mentality
Rafa had no breakpoints in the second set, tamed his punches well and overpowered Djokovic for another absolutely solid tennis set that put him 6-0, 6-2 in the lead after an hour and 34 minutes.
Djokovic saved a break in the third game of the third set and raised his level. Rafa broke Djokovic’s serve at 2-2, but instead of building on it, a few minutes later he lost his service game for the first and only time and gave Djokovic the necessary boost that made him a rival again.
Since Nadal had no room for error, he comfortably won his serve in games eight, ten and twelve, made a break at 5-5 after a double fault from Novak and sealed the deal with a hold of his service game for the 20th.
Major crown. “Of course Rafa played his match, and that’s a good thing about him. You will never be disappointed because he always plays his match. Whether he wins or loses, Rafa is always there, the match starts solidly and sees what happens and.” increases when it has to.
That is exactly what Novak did not do from the start. You could feel something wrong with looking for simple points and trying drop shots here and there, like those four drop shots in the first game. Novak wasn’t prepared for rallies and tried to hit the winners to give himself a chance to win the game.
He did not enter the place with the same attitude as we know. It happens to everyone, that’s why tennis is interesting because it’s not just about participating in a game and playing it, but also about many other aspects. The mental aspect is enormous, “said Patrick Mouratoglou.
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