Rafael Nadal recalls: 'My best Roland Garros final came vs. Novak Djokovic'

My best Roland Garros final came against Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal was the most dominant figure at a single major in tennis history. The Spaniard won 14 Roland Garros titles from 18 trips to Paris, suffered just three losses at his beloved tournament and remained competitive for nearly two decades.

Speaking about his most coveted Roland Garros final, Rafa chose to triumph over his biggest rival Novak Djokovic in 2020. Nadal secured his 13th Roland Garros crown in October 2020, equaling Roger Federer’s record of 20 Major titles.

Despite the challenging conditions and a powerful opponent on the other side, Nadal was ready to extend his Paris reign. He overcame all obstacles and a roof over his head to achieve a dominant victory and make history. Rafa’s 13th Roland Garros title came after a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 triumph in two hours and 41 minutes to claim his 100th Paris win from 102 matches!

Nadal was broken eight times in seven meetings and Djokovic could not find the comeback magic to challenge the king of clay. Rafa had 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, controlled his shots nicely and stole 51% of return points to grab seven breaks from 18 opportunities and leave Novak behind.

Djokovic struggled to find his A-game for over two hours, hitting 50 unforced errors and failing to match Nadal’s pace in the opening two sets. Rafa destroyed Novak at the shortest distance to four strokes to earn victory in the segment after they stayed close in the more advanced exchanges.

The Spaniard got off to a perfect start and took a break in the very first game when Novak’s backhand went long.

Rafael Nadal named the Roland Garros 2020 final as his favorite.

Nadal seized another return at 2-0 to extend the lead and fired a backhand cross-court winner at 4-0 to extend the gap.

Rafa held at 15 in the sixth game to wrap up the opening bagel, the first in a Roland Garros final since 2008 when he did the same against Roger Federer! The defending champion earned two breaks in the second set and held to 30 in the eighth game with a serve winner to build a 6-0, 6-2 advantage in one hour and 34 minutes.

They stayed neck and neck until 5-5 in the third after a mid-set trading break. Novak double-faulted in the 11th game, lost serve and propelled Rafa to the title after the Spaniard held again a few minutes later.

A year later, Djokovic defeated Nadal in the semi-finals before retaliating against the Spaniard in this year’s quarter-finals. “During Roland Garros 2020, I played better and better and saved my best tennis for the final.

The match against Djokovic was one of my best performances in the title matches in Paris, given my strong rival. It was a huge success for me and I was very happy,” said Rafael Nadal.

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