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

“My best Roland Garros final was against Novak Djokovic”

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

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

Despite challenging conditions and a powerful opponent at the other end, Nadal was ready to extend his Paris reign. He overcame all obstacles and a roof over his head to claim 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 earn Paris’ 100th win in 102 games!

Nadal was broken eight times in seven encounters and Djokovic failed to find the return magic to challenge the king of clay. Rafa had 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, controlling his shots well and stealing 51% of return points to earn seven breaks from 18 chances and put Novak behind.

Djokovic struggled to find his A-game for over two hours, spraying 50 unforced errors and unable to match Nadal’s pace in the opening two sets. Rafa demolished Novak up to four strokes in the shortest possible path and earned his win in that segment after they stayed close in the more advanced switches.

The Spaniard got off to a perfect start, earning a break in the first game of the encounter when Novak’s backhand landed long.

Rafael Nadal named the Roland Garros 2020 final as the most popular.

Nadal conquered another second leg 2-0 to extend the lead and painted a backhand crosscourt winner 4-0 to widen the gap.

Rafa held in game six at 15 to wrap up the opener with a bagel, his first in the 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 at 30 with a service winner in game eight to forge a 6-0, 6-2 advantage in an hour and 34 minutes.

After pauses in trading mid-set, they stayed neck and neck until 5-5 in the third. Novak hit a double fault in that 11th game to lose serve and propel Rafa towards the title after the Spaniard had another good serve a few minutes later.

A year later, Djokovic defeated Nadal in the semifinals before the Spaniard retaliated in this year’s quarterfinals. “I kept playing better and better during Roland Garros 2020 and saved my best tennis for the final.

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

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