As was expected when the draw came out, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will battle in the semi-final at Roland Garros on Friday. It will be the 58th encounter between two great rivals, and one of the most important ones in a previous couple of years, like the final from the 2020 edition last October. Nadal has won 105 out of 107 matches in Paris, with the second and last loss coming against Djokovic in the quarter-final in 2015. Novak will try to deliver the second win over Rafa at Roland Garros and the first on clay since Rome 2016, confident in his abilities after a great run in the last couple of weeks.
Novak made a slow start of his clay-court campaign this spring before finding his A-game in Rome, where he lost to Rafa in the final after winning the second set. A week before Paris, Novak conquered the first ATP title at home in Serbia in ten years, beating four lower-ranked rivals and gathering confidence ahead of the season’s second Major. In the Roland Garros quarter-final, Djokovic ousted Matteo Berrettini in four sets after three and a half hours, hoping for another fine display against the king of clay and his 30th victory over the most significant rival.
Novak Djokovic believes he can beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.
“Obviously, it is the anticipated semi-final; many people have talked about this match since the draw came out, and here we are. We have had great battles on this court over the years. Last year, he was the dominant figure in the final. Nonetheless, the conditions will be different on Friday. I hope to reach a high level right from the start and avoid the outcome of the last year’s opening two sets. The level of tennis that I have shown in the previous three or four weeks on clay in Rome, Belgrade and here in Paris gives me good feelings for this match. I feel confident to be able to beat Rafa.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. It will be a great battle. Playing Rafael Nadal on Court Philippe-Chatrier is the greatest challenge you can have, knowing his record here. There is nothing more remarkable in the latter stages of a Major; there’s an extra tension and expectation. The vibrations are different when you walk onto the court against Rafa; this is why our rivalry is historic. I have been privileged many times to have a chance to meet him, and I would probably choose Rafa as my biggest rival. Matches against him are like no others,” Novak Djokovic said.