Former World No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov recently gave his thoughts on the impressive Roland Garros quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on Tuesday. The duo produced yet another match to remember as the defending champion fought valiantly but lost 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) to the Spaniard in their 59th career meeting
In an interview with Sportklub, two-time Grand Slam champion Kafelnikov hinted that spectator behavior played a big part in how the match played out.
"From the first point, it was clear that Novak… I don't know what, but something bothered him. I hope it's not physical and I don't think it is because he ran well and covered the field. Maybe it was mental, because everyone at Philippe Chatrier was cheering for Nadal. The man has won Roland Garros 13 times and the fans are definitely emotionally fond of him," he said.
"I think it bothered Novak a little. I’m sure the Paris audience loves Novak too, but with Rafa, it’s a special story. I understand Novak, but I also understand the sympathy of the audience towards Rafa," said Kafelnikov.
The former World No. 1 said that Nadal's body language from the start of the match suggested that it would be difficult for Djokovic to beat him. He added that the colder conditions in the evening helped Nadal more than Djokovic.
"From the first point, Rafael Nadal's body language showed that it would be difficult for Novak to beat him. To be honest, I don't know why everyone thought that the evening match suited Djokovic. It seemed the opposite to me. I think the evening helped Nadal - the audience, the colder conditions, and the ball bounced the way it suits Rafa," said Kafelnikov.
Rafael Nadal to go up against Alexander Zverev in the semifinals
Germany's Alexander Zverev registered his first-ever top-10 win in a Grand Slam in 14 attempts, defeating Spain's Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7) in the quarterfinals.
If Rafael Nadal wins the last four clash against Zverev on Friday, he will have a chance to lift a record-extending 14th French Open title and extend his lead over Roger Federer and Djokovic in the Slam race to 2 on Sunday.