Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic played their first match at Roland Garros 2006. Rafa and Novak have built the greatest rivalry in the Open era in the previous 15 years, battling worldwide 57 times and setting another clash on Friday in the Roland Garros semi-final. Djokovic has won matches so far, with Nadal securing 28 triumphs to follow his great rival. The Serb is 15-13 in the ATP finals, and Nadal has had the advantage on clay, winning 19 out of 26 encounters on the slowest surface. The upcoming clash in Paris is crucial for both rivals, as they want to reach the title clash and have a chance to improve their Major tally. Nadal and Djokovic were the favorites in the top half, and they defeated five opponents to set another thrilling clash, their ninth in Paris. Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya understands that every match is different and that they had to adjust Rafa’s game for every new opponent.
Carlos Moya spoke about Rafael Nadal’s and Novak Djokovic’s fighting spirit.
Praising Rafa and Novak, Moya stated they are the ultimate warriors on the court, the ones you can’t beat until the very last point and the handshake. Moya reminded that Djokovic had tough times against Lorenzo Musetti and Matteo Berrettini, playing on a high level when it mattered the most to topple them and advance into the semis. On the other hand, Nadal endured a couple of tough sets against Alexei Popyrin, Richard Gasquet and Diego Schwartzman, dropping one set so far and moving into the 14th Roland Garros semi-final.
“It’s a special match; they have played many times in the finals, and it’s the semis this year. It’s the most repeated rivalry in the Open era. The Rome final is a point of reference, but Rafa can play even better. Every match is different, and we are constantly adjusting things while trying to win. We have to find out what works well for Rafa and bothers his rival. It’s not easy to reach the semis at Majors without facing any troubles. Novak had some ups and downs, especially against Berrettini and Musetti. Still, it’s Djokovic, and he always finds a way. Rafa and Novak are the same; they are natural survivors, and you haven’t won a match against them until the handshake,” Carlos Moya said.