"You have to climb Mt. Everest to win against Rafael Nadal here" - When Novak Djokovic hailed Spaniard's 'incredible' French Open record after SF win

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2021 French Open SF
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2021 French Open SF

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal squared off in an epic semifinal at the 2021 French Open. Following his historic win, the Serb expressed his profound admiration for Nadal's incredible record at the claycourt Major.

That year, Djokovic had entered the French Open as the top seed, aiming to achieve the historic feat of a double-career Grand Slam by winning his second Roland Garros title.

The Serb demonstrated his exceptional prowess, battling past the likes of Pablo Cuevas, Lorenzo Musetti and Matteo Berrettini to set up a blockbuster semifinal with Nadal, marking their 58th meeting on tour.

Nadal, the third seed and four-time defending champion, entered the clash as the favorite and promptly rushed away to a 5-0 lead in the opening set. However, Djokovic displayed remarkable resilience, mounting a stellar comeback to secure a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 victory after a riveting four-hour and 11-minute battle.

It marked Nadal's third loss at the claycourt Major, with the Serb becoming the first man to defeat the Spaniard twice at the event, having also triumphed over Nadal in the 2015 quarterfinals.

In his post-match press conference, Novak Djokovic lavished praise on Rafael Nadal's "incredible" accomplishments at the French Open. He emphasized the difficulty of beating the Spaniard at the Major, likening the feat to the uphill task of climbing Mt. Everest.

"It's hard to find words bigger than all the superlatives you can think of for Rafa's achievements in Roland Garros. I mean, he has been the most dominant player of the Roland Garros history. He lost two, now three times, in his entire career. He's been playing here almost 20 years. That achievement speaks for itself," he said.
"The amount of wins that he has made on this court is incredible. Each time you step on the court with him, you know that you have to kind of climb Mt. Everest to win against this guy here," he added.

Djokovic also shed light on his approach to the contest, disclosing that he had implemented the lessons gleaned from his previous win over Nadal at the claycourt Major.

"I won only once in I think our eight matches that we ever played in Chatrier here in Roland Garros. I tried to take some positives and some cues from that match in 2015 that I won against him to implement tonight, which worked out very nicely," he said.

Novak Djokovic on French Open 2021 SF win over Rafael Nadal: "The atmosphere and just the occasion was very special"

The Serb beat Rafael Nadal (right) at the 2021 French Open.
The Serb beat Rafael Nadal (right) at the 2021 French Open.

Novak Djokovic emphasized that his win over Rafael Nadal in the 2021 French Open semifinals was among his most memorable matches, not only because of the thrilling on-court battle but also for the special occasion and exciting match environment.

"But it's just one of these matches that I really will remember for a very long time, not just because I won the match but because of the atmosphere and just the occasion was very special," he said.

Djokovic took on fifth seed Stefanos Tstisipas in the Roland Garros final, denying Tsitsipas his maiden Grand Slam title by fighting back from two sets down to claim a hard-fought 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

With his triumph, the Serb secured his second French Open title and 19th Major, making him the first man in the Open Era to win every Grand Slam title at least twice.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now