A couple of weeks after their epic Roland Garros semi-final clash, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met in the same round of the Canadian Masters and in Cincinnati in 2013. Starting the year a little later due to an injury sustained in the season Previously, Nadal was among the players to beat between February and September, adding an incredible streak and becoming a contender for the ATP throne. Rafa lost to Novak in the Monte Carlo final before conquering Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros. The Spaniard experienced an early defeat at Wimbledon and headed to Montreal eager for a much deeper involvement. Nadal beat Jerzy Janowicz and advanced to the semifinals, where he faced a two-time defending Canadian Open champion and No. 1, Novak Djokovic. It was their first hard court encounter since that epic 2012 Australian Open final, and Nadal prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 after two and a half hours to clinch a title clash. Rafa’s previous win over Novak came in the 2010 ATP Finals, and he had to dig deep to win the new one, winning two points more than the Serbian and staying cool in the decisive moments. Rafa defeated Novak for the 21st time in 36 games, breaking twice like the world’s leading player and dominating him in essential points to stay on the title track. Djokovic had a couple more winners than Nadal, who forced more mistakes on his opponent to erase that deficit and stay in touch.
Opelka pays tribute to Rafael Nadal
Reilly Opelka recently claimed that Rafael Nadal has been his favorite player since his childhood and that he considers the Spaniard to be the “greatest”. Opelka further revealed that Nadal used to be his inspiration when he played dress-up on Halloween in the past. “With my style of play, unfortunately, there was not much to do,” Reilly Opelka said. “The simple fact of facing Rafa was already great, he is the greatest and was playing on his court. He was always my favorite player growing up, I dressed as him for Halloween twice, so facing a legend like him is incredible,” Opelka added. “I wanted to go out and win, but there was a lot of respect I feel for him, I think it happens to us all. We have grown up idolizing these players (but) I no longer tell you about asking him for a selfie at the end of the match,” Opelka said. “We have to draw a line on these issues. I have the utmost respect for Rafa, he is the greatest, he was my favorite player and always will be, but the day we played I entered the court and tried to beat him.”