Five Things To Know About Novak Djokovic’s 58th Meeting With Rafael Nadal At The French Open - UBITENNIS
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Five Things To Know About Novak Djokovic’s 58th Meeting With Rafael Nadal At The French Open

15 years on from their first Tour meeting, the two tennis giants will lock horns once again with plenty at stake for each of them.

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Rafa Nadal e Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2020 (via Twitter, @rolandgarros)

Friday at the French Open will see the resumption of one of the biggest rivalries in tennis.

 

World No.1 Novak Djokovic will take on king of clay Rafael Nadal with a place in the final at stake. It was at the French Open where the two players first played each other back in 2006. On that occasion Nadal won after his opponent was forced to retire during their match due to injury.

For sure he’s the best on the surface, but he’s not unbeatable,” a young Djokovic told reporters afterwards.

Little did they know at the time that their clash would be the start of what has become one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport. Their head-to-head record has rewritten the history books for various reasons.

Ahead of their latest clash in Paris, here are five things to know about the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry.

The head-to-head

It will be the 58th time Djokovic has played Nadal on the Tour in what is an Open Era record. Furthermore they will clash at a major for the 17th time which equals the record for the most played men’s match. Djokovic has also played Federer 17 times in a Grand Slam.

The world No.1 currently leads his on-court nemesis 29-28. However, he has a losing record against Nadal when it comes to playing him in major events (6-10), at the French Open (1-7) and on clay (7-19). He is one of only two players to have ever defeated Nadal at Roland Garros back in 2015. The other was Robin Söderling in 2009. Therefore, if he was to win on Friday he would become the first player in history to have beaten the Spaniard multiple times in the tournament.

Gunning for No.29

Whoever wins the clash will be through to their 29th Grand Slam final in what is the second highest in history among male players. Federer currently holds the record at 31. Djokovic reached his first major final at the 2007 US Open and has won a total of 18 titles since then. Meanwhile, Nadal has won a total of 20 trophies since his debut in a major final at the 2005 French Open.

Furthermore, Nadal is seeking his record 14th appearance in a Roland Garros final which is more than double that of any other player in history. Djokovic is seeking his sixth appearance which would place him joint-second on the all-time list with Bjorn Borg.

A battle of the ages

The combined age of the clash (69 years, 32 days) makes it the fifth oldest semi-final match to take place at a Grand Slam since 1968. Nadal’s age is 35 years and 10 days and Djokovic’s is 34 years and 22 days. At the French Open alone, it is the third oldest encounter after 1968 (Rod Laver against Pancho Gonzales) and 2019 (Nadal against Federer).

Should Nadal win he would become the oldest man to reach a French Open final and the first to do so after turning 35. As for Djokovic, he would become the fourth oldest.

Nadal’s semi-final record

The world No.3 has a remarkable record when it comes to playing in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. He has won all 13 of his previous semi-final matches at the tournament and only dropped a total of three sets. Two of those sets were against Djokovic when they clashed in 2013.

Since winning the title in 2005, there has only been three occasions where hasn’t reached this stage of the draw – 2009 (lost to Söderling in round four), 2015 (lost to Djokovic in the quarter-finals) and 2016 (withdrew from the tournament due to injury).

In contrast, Djokovic has won five out of 10 French Open semi-finals he has contested.

Djokovic targets Open Era record

Should Djokovic prevail over Nadal and go on to win the title he will break another record. Becoming the first man in the Open Era to have won each Grand Slam title on multiple occasions. The only players in history to have even achieved this milestone was Roy Emerson and Laver.

Breakdown of Head-to-head

YearEventSurfaceRNDWinnerResult
2021ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal75 16 63
2020Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal60 62 75
2020ATP Cup
Australia
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic62 764
2019ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal60 46 61
2019Australian Open
Australia
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic63 62 63
2018Wimbledon
Great Britain
Outdoor GrassSFNovak Djokovic64 36 769 36 108
2018ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClaySFRafael Nadal764 63
2017ATP Masters 1000 Madrid
Spain
Outdoor ClaySFRafael Nadal62 64
2016ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayQFNovak Djokovic75 764
2016ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardSFNovak Djokovic765 62
2016Doha
Qatar
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic61 62
2015ATP Finals
Great Britain
Indoor HardSFNovak Djokovic63 63
2015Beijing
China
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic62 62
2015Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClayQFNovak Djokovic75 63 61
2015ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo
Monaco
Outdoor ClaySFNovak Djokovic63 63
2014Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal36 75 62 64
2014ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayFNovak Djokovic46 63 63
2014ATP Masters 1000 Miami
FL, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic63 63
2013ATP Finals
Great Britain
Indoor HardFNovak Djokovic63 64
2013Beijing
China
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic63 64
2013US Open
NY, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardFRafael Nadal62 36 64 61
2013ATP Masters 1000 Canada
Canada
Outdoor HardSFRafael Nadal64 36 762
2013Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClaySFRafael Nadal64 36 61 673 97
2013ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo
Monaco
Outdoor ClayFNovak Djokovic62 761
2012Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal64 63 26 75
2012ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal75 63
2012ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo
Monaco
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal63 61
2012Australian Open
Australia
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic57 64 62 675 75
2011US Open
NY, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic62 64 673 61
2011Wimbledon
Great Britain
Outdoor GrassFNovak Djokovic64 61 16 63
2011ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayFNovak Djokovic64 64
2011ATP Masters 1000 Madrid
Spain
Outdoor ClayFNovak Djokovic75 64
2011ATP Masters 1000 Miami
FL, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic46 63 764
2011ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardFNovak Djokovic46 63 62
2010ATP Finals
Great Britain
Indoor HardRRRafael Nadal75 62
2010US Open
NY, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardFRafael Nadal64 57 64 62
2009ATP Finals
Great Britain
Indoor HardRRNovak Djokovic765 63
2009ATP Masters 1000 Paris
France
Indoor HardSFNovak Djokovic62 63
2009ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati
OH, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardSFNovak Djokovic61 64
2009ATP Masters 1000 Madrid
Spain
Outdoor ClaySFRafael Nadal36 765 769
2009ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal762 62
2009ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo
Monaco
Outdoor ClayFRafael Nadal63 26 61
2009ESP vs. SRB WG 1st RD
Spain
Outdoor ClayRRRafael Nadal64 64 61
2008Beijing Olympics
China
Outdoor HardSFRafael Nadal64 16 64
2008ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati
OH, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardSFNovak Djokovic61 75
2008London / Queen’s Club
Great Britain
Outdoor GrassFRafael Nadal766 75
2008Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClaySFRafael Nadal64 62 763
2008ATP Masters 1000 Hamburg
Germany
Outdoor ClaySFRafael Nadal75 26 62
2008ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardSFNovak Djokovic63 62
2007Tennis Masters Cup
China
Indoor HardRRRafael Nadal64 64
2007ATP Masters 1000 Canada
Canada
Outdoor HardSFNovak Djokovic75 63
2007Wimbledon
Great Britain
Outdoor GrassSFRafael Nadal36 61 41 RET
2007Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClaySFRafael Nadal75 64 62
2007ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayQFRafael Nadal62 63
2007ATP Masters 1000 Miami
FL, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardQFNovak Djokovic63 64
2007ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells
CA, U.S.A.
Outdoor HardFRafael Nadal62 75
2006Roland Garros
France
Outdoor ClayQFRafael Nadal64 64
source: atptour.com

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Wimbledon

In a statement issued by Osaka’s team, the tennis star has extended her decision to take a break from the sport amid mental health concerns.

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On the same day of Rafael Nadal’s announcement, Naomi Osaka has become the latest big name to withdraw from the Wimbledon Championships.

 

The four-time Grand Slam champion has decided to miss the Grand Slam so she can take some ‘personal time’ away from the Tour, according to a statement issued by her team. Osaka recently revealed that she has been suffering from depression and social anxiety since 2018. The revelation came after a fallout erupted over her decision to not fulfil her press commitments at the French Open. She later withdrew from the tournament following her first round match due to mental health concerns.

However, Osaka has confirmed that she still intends to play at the Tokyo Olympic Games which will start towards the end of next month. She has been one the key athletes used by organisers to help promote the upcoming games.

“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year. She is taking some personal time with friends and family. She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans.” A statement reads.

Despite her success in the majors, the 23-year-old is yet to go deep in the draw at Wimbledon. In her three previous appearances, she has reached the third round twice followed by a shock first round loss to Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in 2019. The tournament wasn’t held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week Wimbledon organisers were hopeful that the world No.2 would play after reaching out to her team. Although they had no direct contact with Osaka herself. Tournament director Jamie Baker said he was open to ‘any discussions’ regarding potential issues that could arise.

“I had the conversation with her team,” AFP quoted Baker as saying on Wednesday. “It’s absolutely clear that we’re here, we’re completely open for any discussions when they want to have that. Hopefully it goes without saying that we want the best players competing here no matter what.”

Sportico reports that Osaka made $55M in earnings and endorsements during a 12-month period between 2020-2021. The highest amount ever to be earned by a female athlete during that period.

Osaka is yet to make any public commented following her withdrawal from Wimbledon.

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Rafael Nadal to Skip Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics

“The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate”, has written the Spaniard in a statement.

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Current world N.3 and 20-time Slam champion Rafa Nadal has decided not to play in the 2021 Championships nor in the re-scheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In a series of Tweets, the Spaniard has made the news official while elaborating on the reasons behind this choice:

 

In a lengthy thread, he elaborated: “The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at he maximum level of competition. The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season.

“They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term. Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles”.

Nadal won in Barcelona and Rome, before bowing out against Novak Djokovic in a four-hours-and-eleven-minutes semifinal, ending an unbeaten run of 33 matches in Paris.

On the Tokyo event, he added: “The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country.”

Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion (2008 and 2010) and has reached the semi-finals in the last two editions. This means that he will lose 360 points, since the Championships are among the tournaments that allow the players to keep 50 percent of their 2019 tallies under the revised ranking system.

He is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist: he won in the singles in Beijing in 2008 and in the doubles in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 partnering Marc Lopez – in Brazil, he also finished fourth in the singles event.

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Frustrated Roger Federer Disappointed With Own Attitude Following Halle Loss

The former world No.1 reacts to his early exit from the Noventi Open.

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Roger Federer says difficulty with his ongoing comeback from injury ‘got to him’ a little bit during his second round match at the Noventi Open in Halle.

 

The 10-time champion was knocked out of the tournament by Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime who prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Making it the first time in Federer’s career he has failed to win back-to-back matches in the tournament. Halle was only the fourth tournament he has played since returning to the Tour following a knee injury which required two surgical procedures last year.

After getting knocked out of the tournament, the world’s media were left waiting for almost three hours before Federer spoke to the press. An unusual approach from a player who has lost. During that period the 39-year-old said he spoke with coach Ivan Ljubičić about his performance.

“I needed time to digest the third set. I was unhappy about how it ended,” he explained. “(It was) Similar to Geneva in some ways where I felt I actually played good in spells. But it was up and down.’
“That match had good and bad moments but I guess that’s part of the comeback.” He added.

Federer admitted that he started to get frustrated with himself after getting broken at the start of the decider where Auger-Aliassime went on to win four games in a row. He believes that mentality affected the outcome of the match but he gives credit to his Canadian opponent who registered only his fourth win over a top 10 player in his career.

“It was not a good attitude from my side. I was disappointed with the way I was feeling on court and the way things were going,” Federer admitted.
“I think the whole difficulty of the comeback got to me a little bit, as well. I realised that it was not going to be my day and there was nothing I could do. I started to get really negative. This is not normally how I am.’
“This is something I’m not happy about but at the same time in like 1500 of or so matches these things can happen. The good thing is that I know it will not happen the next time.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has recorded four wins this season heading into Wimbledon but only two of those were against top 50 players. He defeated Dan Evans (No.28) in Doha and Marin Cilic (No.47) at the French Open.

Federer will be returning back to his native Switzerland prior to travelling to the UK. Alluding to the fact that he doesn’t want to stay inside a bubble any longer than he has to. He will speak to his team about his next steps prior to Wimbledon, where he will be seeking a historic ninth title.

“The good thing coming out of a match like this against a great player is that I know what I need to think about moving forward because clearly I need do a bit better.” He concluded.

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