French Open: Novak Djokovic calls Rafael Nadal ‘better player’, admits he didn’t use his chances


Novak Djokovic’s title defence at the French Open came to an end after losing to Rafael Nadal 2-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7(7) in the quarter-final match that lasted four hours and 12 minutes.

Novak Djokovic congratulating Rafael Nadal on his quarter-final victory at the French Open. (Courtesy: Reuters)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The match marked 59th meeting between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal
  • Nadal has extended his record against Djokovic to 8-2 at the French Open
  • Rafael Nadal will meet Alexander Zverev in the semi-final on June 3

World No.1 Novak Djokovic had no qualms in accepting that he lost the French Open quarter-final match to “better player” Rafael Nadal on Wednesday (June 1, IST).

The Serb added that he was proud of the fight he put up against the ‘Clay King’ Nadal. Djokovic’s title defence came to an end after losing to the Spaniard 2-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7(7) in a match that lasted four hours and 12 minutes.

“I gave my best,” Djokovic said after the match. “I know I could have played better. I’m proud of fighting and staying till the last shot.

“I lost to a better player today. Had my chances. Didn’t use them. That’s it. You know, over four hours’ battle, and I have to accept this defeat.”

Djokovic conceded an early break to Nadal in each of the first three sets and had two set points in the fourth. However, Nadal knocked out the defending champion Djokovic in the tiebreaker.

The World No.1 also congratulated Nadal on his win, saying he was not surprised by the Spaniard’s physical fitness during the marathon battle under the lights.

“He was a better player I think in important moments,” Djokovic said. “Started very well. I didn’t start so great … I was gaining momentum as I was coming back in the second set, managed to win the second set, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m back in the game.

“But then he had another two, three fantastic games at the beginning of the third. He was just able to take his tennis to another level in those, particularly moments at the beginning of all sets, actually, except the fourth.

“I had my chances. Just one or two shots. Could have taken me into a fifth. Then it’s really anybody’s match. But again, he showed why he’s a great champion. Staying there mentally tough and finishing the match the way he did. Congrats to him and his team. No doubt he deserved it,” Djokovic said.





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