The Spaniard wins his 13th title in Paris and thus also sets a record for Roger Federer. A crazy match against his rival Novak Djokovic develops on the chatrier – with a dramatic end.
“King” Rafael Nadal sank overjoyed after 2:41 hours of tennis perfection on the red sand of Roland Garros: The 34-year-old Spaniard beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the final of the French Open with a 6: 0, 6: 2, 7: 5- Sieg gave a brutal lesson and after his 20th Grand Slam triumph is now on the same level as the great Roger Federer (Switzerland) in the all-time best list. Djokovic remains at 17 major titles.
Nadal defended his Parisian territory with almost extraterrestrial power and precision and celebrated the title win for the 13th time with his 100th victory at the most important clay court event in the world. The Serb Djokovic was only allowed to cheer in 2016 in Roland Garros. The tour dominator conceded only his second defeat this year against Nadal, who stayed in the tournament without losing a set – it could hardly have been more painful.
Nadal against Djokovic – that’s a classic. No duel has taken place more often in the history of professional tennis, even before the 56th meeting of the two industry giants, experts and fans alike clicked their tongues in anticipation of a spectacle. You should see a memorable duel with an incredible Nadal.
Both top stars had once again defied all imponderables on the way to the final, and they had started the tournament equally worried. Before the autumn edition, the Spaniard feared the unfamiliar conditions with heavy soil, cold temperatures and slow balls. But he played just as freely as Djokovic, who was still stuck with his shameful disqualification at the US Open, his only defeat of the year until Sunday.
The final of the last Grand Slam of the year, which was spared major corona problems due to the strict safety requirements, got off to a spectacular start. “It’s an unbelievably high level,” said German idol Boris Becker at Eurosport: “Nadal plays in another world that only he knows.”
Nadal was close to perfection
Djokovic made one stop after the next to avoid the baseline duels with Nadal. The tactic seemed clever, but the Mallorcan found an answer to everything. Before the game, Djokovic described it as the “greatest challenge in sport” to beat Nadal in his “living room”. And he was allowed to feel confirmed with the end of the first sentence, which he had to tick off with the maximum penalty after 45 minutes.
The number one in the world needed better service and even more risk under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier to somehow get into the game. After his first game win at the beginning of the second set, he showed his fist straight away, but Nadal did not think about giving up, broke Djokovic in his second service game and pulled away again irresistibly.
Nadal acted close to perfection, in the first two sets he made just six avoidable mistakes – Djokovic, the outstanding player of this difficult tennis year, was at 30. The 1000 spectators who were allowed to the organizers saw Extraordinary.
Before the third set, Nadal took a short break, went into the dressing room and then continued to power. Djokovic continued to hold against it with his great class and caught a break for the first time in the match. But Nadal was just too strong and underpinned his exceptional position on sand.
The game for reading in the ticker:
Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal (0: 6, 2: 6, 5: 7)
0: 6, 2: 6, 5: 7 – there it is! Rafael Nadal wins the French Open for the 13th time! He brings his service game through smoothly, then falls redeemed on the court. The 34-year-old has shown once again that he is the best clay court player in tennis history. 6: 0, 6: 2, 7: 5 in a crazy match against Novak Djokovic, who even with his best tennis had no chance against the force of nature on the other side of the court. Simply unbelievable.
0: 6, 2: 6, 5: 6 – Very bitter for Djokovic! He conceded the break, of all things at 5: 5. Makes a double mistake at 30:40. Now Nadal serves to win the match!
0: 6, 2: 6, 5: 5 – Nadal now really seems to be brooding, he always uses the time before his serves to the last, is about to receive a warning. He brings through his own service game after Djokovic hits a backhand very narrowly out of bounds. Now the “Djoker” is struggling again.
0: 6, 2: 6, 5: 4 – It’s a roller coaster ride now. Djokovic is clearly on the longline, but then makes simple mistakes, of all times in this phase. Then he takes the initiative again, is already 40:30 ahead – and hits a return on the net. Then Nadal adds a forehand winner. But in the end Djokovic prevails and prevents the break. He is now fully in the match.
0: 6, 2: 6, 4: 4 – Djokovic is much more active, but simply can’t do anything against Nadal. A mad forehand cross hit at 30:15 for the Spaniard, then Djokovic hits a forehand into the net – already his second mistake without need in this game. Then the Serb opens the game well, only has to bring the forehand longline through – and knock it out.
0: 6, 2: 6, 4: 3 – The momentum appears to be tipping over. First a two-handed backhand hit at 30:15, then the point completion with serve and volley on the net. And suddenly he’s in front in the 3rd set.
0: 6, 2: 6, 3: 3 – Djokovic very emotional! With a winner he creates the direct re-break. Then energetically cheer the audience on. He shows again: The “Djoker” is far from defeated. Is Nadal thinking now?
Emotional: Novak Djokovic in the final against Rafael Nadal. (Source: Reuters)
0: 6, 2: 6, 2: 3 – And there is the first break in the 3rd movement. To zero! Is that the crux of the matter now? Nadal is just not impressed. Only 11 unforced errors for the Spaniard. In a final against the world number one. Djokovic is at 35.
0: 6, 2: 6, 2: 2 – What should Djokovic still do? Nadal counters his perfect backhand cross with a stop ball, which he can no longer reach. To do this, the Serb has to go a long way again and again.
0: 6, 2: 6, 2: 1 – The next insane rallies between the two. Djokovic fights like a lion, receives nothing from Nadal – and also has problems with his forehand, in which the Spaniard plays again and again. But Nadal now and again hits a forehand himself. Still, “Rafa” has the chance to break, but just misses it. Backhand out, Djokovic leads.
0: 6, 2: 6, 1: 1 – Nadal is not deterred, however, equalizes directly.
0: 6, 2: 6, 1: 0 – As strange as it sounds: Good start for the “Djoker” in the 3rd movement. Can he use it now? He still seems to believe in himself.
0: 6, 2: 6 – This is sentence number two for Nadal! The Spaniard plays here as if from a different planet: Unbeatable on the line, safe serve, hardly any mistakes. Here are a few statistics: In the “winners” he leads with 25:21, in the total points 66:44.
Rafael Nadal: The Spanish tennis superstar is a record winner in Paris. (Source: Christian Hartmann / Reuters)
0: 6, 2: 5 – Hard to believe, but now Nadal makes casual mistakes and Djokovic makes his serve. His first game win since the set began.
0: 6, 1: 5 – Nadal makes his serve and continues to dominate the set. Even if Djokovic returns really well, the Spaniard gets point and point. This is a historically good performance by Nadal – especially since Djokovic (even if it seems almost grotesque with the score) really doesn’t play badly.
0: 6, 1: 4 – And again Nadal breaks. As soon as the felt ball is in play a little longer, the Spaniard is simply unbeatable. He just brings back every ball – even in the most hopeless situations. Djokovic is becoming more and more desperate and makes mistakes. For comparison: 26 “Unforced Errors” from “Djoker” are only opposed to three (!!!) from Nadal.
0: 6, 1: 3 – Now, for once, a fairly normal game. Nadal makes his serve relatively easily and extends his lead.
0: 6, 1: 2 – This is the next break for Nadal. And – this will no longer surprise you – it goes back and forth again. Overall, the game again lasts over seven minutes.
0: 6, 1: 1 – An immensely intense match. After it looks like Djokovic can take the momentum from the previous game and is in front, Nadal turns up and brings his serve through. It seems like the Spaniard doesn’t make any mistakes at all.
0: 6, 1: 0 – Djokovic visibly blows. He wins his first game in the match. And that after he was already 15:40 behind and had to fend off several breakballs after the debut. Was that a little turning point?
0: 6 – Nadal clenches his fist. This time he makes his serve for once with only one counterpoint and gets the first set. But: It took a whopping 45 minutes for just six games. This is really a 6-0 of the unusual kind.
0: 5 – Djokovic is slowly desperate here, keeps shaking his head. After a 40-0 lead he loses four points in a row, fights his way back, then both award several decisive balls and in the end Nadal uses one of his numerous breakballs. Again: Even if the result is clear so far, the rallies are extremely close. The most important indication: the previous five games have lasted a total of almost three quarters of an hour.
0: 4 – The result looks much clearer than what happened on the red sand. Although it is called “Avantage Djokovic” several times, Nadal makes his serve after an energetic performance.
0: 3 – That is now bitter for Djokovic: He also loses his second service game – mainly because his first serve has not yet worked. One mistake follows the next.
0: 2 – An important game for Nadal. After he is already 40:15 ahead, Djokovic fights his way again and is about to re-break. In the end, however, the Spaniard has the better end on his side. Nonetheless, it can be seen directly: Here two players meet at absolutely the same level.
0: 1 – And the match starts with an exclamation mark from Nadal! The Spaniard starts right away with a break and is particularly strong from the baseline. But it’s not just his performance that makes you want more. Djokovic also shows tennis at the highest technical level from the first rally.
3:11 pm – And now it really starts! Djokovic is the first to serve.
3:07 pm – Because it is rainy in Paris, the roof is closed. The outside temperature is around 14 degrees Celsius.
3:06 p.m. – Both players seem relaxed but focused and are just rehearsing serves.
3:03 p.m. – Players come to the court to warm up, less than five minutes to start.
2:53 pm – The grand finale will take place in a few minutes. It is decided who can take home the prize money of 1.6 million euros.
2:47 pm – Welcome to the live ticker for the men’s final at the French Open!