Novak Djokovic advances into his 11th semi-final at the Roland Garros after a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 victory over Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals of the French Open 2021.
Of the 10 semi-finals so far, Novak has won 6 of his semi-final encounters and lost on 4 occasions, once to Roger Federer and thrice to Rafael Nadal, his opponent for Friday’s semi-final clash at the French Open 2021.
Novak talks about the challenge in the semi-finals
Djokovic’s victory over Berrettini means that he will now face Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in what will be their 2nd meeting of the year after their 2021 Rome Masters finals. This will be their 58th meeting on all surfaces where Novak leads 29-28 and will be looking to extend his lead over the Spaniard.
“It’s not like any other match. Let’s face it, it’s the biggest challenge you can have, playing on Clay against (Rafael) Nadal on this court on which he has had so much success in his career. In the final stages of the Grand Slam, it doesn’t get bigger than that. So, of course, each time we face each other, there’s that extra tension and expectations,” said Djokovic.
“The vibes are just different walking on the court with him. But that’s why our rivalry has been historic, I think for this sport. I’ve been privileged to play him so many times.” added Djokovic about his clash with Nadal.
Novak Djokovic chooses his biggest rival
While Djokovic and Nadal have met 57 times so far, Djokovic has played fellow Big-3 member Roger Federer on 50 occasions and leads the Swiss 27-23. While all of these rivalries are some of the best in sport, Djokovic chose his biggest rival amongst Federer and Nadal.
“I’ve mentioned before, rivalries with (Nadal) him and Roger (Federer) have made me a stronger player and allowed me to understand how I need to improve my game, to get to the level where they were when I started playing professional tennis,” talked Djokovic about his rivalries with the other two members of the Big-3.
“I’d probably pick Rafa as the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career. The anticipation for the match against him, any match, or any surface, or any occasion is always different from any other.” said Djokovic choosing his biggest rival in the form of Nadal.
Djokovic confident of victory in the semi-finals
Speaking ahead of the semi-final and how he fancies his chances against the ‘King of Clay’ in his favourite hunting ground, Djokovic said, “The quality and the level of tennis that I’ve been playing in the last three or four weeks on clay, Rome, Belgrade and here is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match,”
“I’m confident, I believe I can win otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s have a great battle.” added Djokovic as he concluded his post-match conference after his quarter-final win.
Novak Djokovic will meet Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open 2021, their first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2018 Wimbledon where the Serbian won in 5-sets.