Nadal Dominates Djokovic For 13th French Open Title, Matches Federer’s 20 Slams
by Staff | October 11th, 2020, 4:08 pm
  • 20 Comments

Regardless of result, history would happened Sunday in the men’s French Open final. Either Rafael Nadal would win his 13th and tie Roger Federer’s all-time Grand Slam haul of 20, or Novak Djokovic would finally get his second Career Slam with an emphatic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 triumph.

“I played at an amazing level of tennis,” said Nadal. “For two-sets-and-a-half I played great. I can’t say another thing. It’s impossible to have this score against him without playing great. I played a very good final. I played at my highest level when I needed to play at my highest level, so something that I am very proud of.

“Winning here means everything to me. It’s not the moment to think about the 20th title to equal Roger. For me, today it’s about the Roland Garros victory. It means everything to me. Most of the most important moments of my career have been here. I love this city and this court.”

The rain in the area and the condition cool and wet, the roof was closed which was thought to be an advantage for Djokovic, but it wasn’t or made no difference.

Djokovic, who had not lost to Nadal at a Slam in over six years, came out with a bit of dropshot-itis. The Serb had game points to hold his opening serve, but the dropshots went wayward and he was broken. Nadal held then broke Djokovic again as the the World No. 1 failed to find any sort of form or rhythm.

Rafa wasn’t fussed, he was all business and pressed onward rolling to a stunning 6-0 opening set — Djokovic worst set loss in the a Grand Slam final — and then broke early in the second.

Djokovic continued to flounder. His serve was off, the dropshot was taking the place of the groundstrokes, though his trusty backhand seemed to be finding the net more than the court.

Rafa took the second then went up a break in the third before Djokovic finally caught a little momentum. He broke Rafa and started to hit the ball better. But down two sets to Rafa in his house was just too big an obstacle to overcome. Nadal continued to play a near-perfect brand of tennis and a final ace sealed a startling victory.

“In Australia, [Novak] killed me, but today was for me,” said Nadal. “That’s part of the game. After all the things I have been through in my career in terms of injuries, without a great team and family around me, everything would be impossible.”

Nadal wins his 13th French Open, fourth without losing a set. And more importantly, he ties Roger Federer atop the Grand Slam leaderboard with 20.

“In terms of these records, of course I care,” said Nadal who also won his 100th career French Open match. “I am a big fan of the history of sport in general. I respect that a lot. For me it means a lot to share this number with Roger, no? But let’s see what’s going on when we finish our careers – we keep playing.”

Djokovic suffered his first lost match point of 2020, and took one of his worst beating in a Grand Slam final.

“Congratulations to Rafa,” Djokovic said to the 1,000 or so fans in attendance. “What you are doing on this court is unbelievable. Not just this court, but throughout your entire career you have been a great champion. You have shown why you are ‘King of Clay’. It was a very tough match for me today. I was not so pleased with the way I played, but also I was definitely outplayed by a better player today.”

Djokovic finished with 38 winners and a whopping 52 unforced errors over three sets. That’s averaging 2 unforced errors/game, which won’t work against Nadal. Meanwhile, Nadal finished with 31 winners to only 14 unforced errors and he broke Djokovic seven times.

“It didn’t work great today, let’s say. He was winning a lot of those drop shot points that were played by my side,” Djokovic said of the tactic. “I didn’t play so many in the end of the day. I did try tactically different things, but not much worked in the first two sets. I wanted to disrupt his rhythm, obviously. But he was ready. He was there, he was prepared. He was playing all the right shots today.

“I was probably rushing a bit much, trying to play shorter points,” he added. “I probably wasn’t constructing the points well. That reflected on the result. But that was also caused by him, by his amazing defense. He was getting a lot of balls back.”

Nadal won’t have to wait long for a 14th French title. The tournament will return in May. Djokovic will look to add to his total in Australia where Federer has confirmed his participation.


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20 Comments for Nadal Dominates Djokovic For 13th French Open Title, Matches Federer’s 20 Slams

Czarlazar Says:

The article nailed it: dropshots took the place of groundstrokes in Novak’s game today, even though he’s all about dominating from the baseline, masterfully constructing points until his opponent is ground down and overwhelmed. Hard to fathom the casual passivity and lack of discipline & passion in one of the biggest matches of his career. He was undefeated and dominant in 2020 until the DQ at the US Open, caused by carelessness and stupidity (flopping, overacting lineswoman aside) and meekly accepts a humiliating beatdown in Paris without a hint of pride or steadfastness. Hard to understand today’s performance, unless the DQ so traumatized his psyche that he felt the need to concede this title to pay penance to his many critics who rejoice at his every failure. If Nole could’ve implanted Nadal’s desire and fighting spirit at the beginning of his career, he’d have won at least 27 Grand Slams by now.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Amazing job by Rafa! What a legend. What a couple of legends. Funny how there was talk of the slow heavy conditions being against Rafa. The old coincidence does not equal causality. Just cause Rafa lost one match at RG under these conditions (to Soderling) doesn’t mean these conditions are hard for him.

Don’t know what Novak was thinking with the drop shots. He did not have his A game today. I think Rafa was unstoppable but its one of those matches where you know the other guy is capable of much better.

Amazing that this is Novak’s first real loss of the year. Amazing also that this is Rafa’s first win against Novak in 6 years.

I’m a long time, hard Federer fan, and when he held all the records it was easy to believe that he was the GOAT (statistical and ‘on his best day’). But now he trails in Masters and has an equal in Slam counts. Novak could easily catch his weeks at #1 record, and possibly the Slam record.

Really have to think of the three as co-GOATs now.

WTF is the next generation? I mean, the almost two decade reign of the Big Three is proof enough of their Olympian status among the greats.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Czarlazar, I disagree with the last comment. Although he was weak today, Novak has shown incredible mental strength in the last few years, really equal to Rafa and Roger.


Milos Says:

Czarlazar, did you even see the match? Rafa was playing unbelievable. Niki Pilic sad that under conditions that were in Paris today, you have to “die” in order to win. Quote (in Serbian) “Ljudi, da biste dobili meč na šljaci, u ovim uslovima koji su sada u Parizu, doslovno morate da izginete.”


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Another interesting idea on the grand scheme of tennis history: If Novak hadn’t upped his game to Rafa/Roger level (2011? 2012?), Rafa would be the undisputed GOAT. Novak stole from Rafa what he had every reason to believe he had earned: a long reign at #1, and bagfulls of Slams.


JuanF Says:

Tennis Vegabond: good point, very true. While the big 3 took grand slamm titles away from each other, I can see Nadal having at least 3-4 more G.S. titles. How about Federer? He would also have an additional 3 or 4.


JuanF Says:

Tennis Vegabond: good point, very true. While the big 3 took grand slamm titles away from each other, I can see Nadal having at least 3-4 more G.S. titles. How about Federer? He would also have an additional 3 or 4. It all balances out in the end.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

JuanF, you’re right that the Big 3 can all play ‘what if’ games against each other. It just seems especially stark in Novak/Rafa’s case, because Novak seemed to be at tennis maturity as the solid third, and Rafa’s reign of dominance seemed so assured as ‘just beginning’ at the time.


chrisford1 Says:

TV – “Although he was weak today, Novak has shown incredible mental strength in the last few years, really equal to Rafa and Roger.”

The main improvement of Djokovic back in 2011 was somehow getting the heart and mental strength Rafa had, that Djokovic sought somehow to find in himself. In doing so, again somehow, because it is so tough to change a player’s core nature, Djokovic did equal Nadal in mental and physical strength on most occasions (but not this one). However, IMO, he has exceeded Roger’s since 2011.
But Djokovic’s gain in those attributes never meant Rafa lost those core qualities that were more natural to himself. Yesterday was a humiliating reminder for Djokovic. He showed up with less, and paid.
A Plan B when Plan A fell apart in the 1st 20 minutes would have been helpful to Team Djokovic as well, obviously.

All credit to Nadal for handing Djokovic one of the worst defeats of his career, praise to Nadal – he earned it in an emphatic manner. TV – “Novak stole from Rafa what he had every reason to believe he had earned: a long reign at #1, and bagfulls of Slams.”
All 3 players, and Andy, earned what they earned, they didn’t steal it from anyone.
Novak just has to accept another really rough loss in 2020, learn from this failure, and move on.


chrisford1 Says:

Of course, as Djokovic lay chewed up and spit out on the red clay dust, some positives for 2020.
1. Thanks to the revised Covid points system, e actually gained points on Rafa at the French Open, 11,740 points now. Now 1890 points ahead of Rafa.
2. While Djokovic could have put it away at Roland Garros, he is still on track to be the year-end #1, which would put him in a tie for the record.
3. He got his 2nd Master’s Sweep at Cincinnati (in NYC, of course).
4. He moved ahead of Rafa in Masters wins to be #1 again in that category.
5. Despite some writers and fans believing different, there is no huge shame in Djokovic achieving 4 RUPs at the French Open, and losing a razor-close semifinal to Nadal in 2013 with David Ferrer awaiting the winner. Nor should Federer have any “shame” about his 4 RUPs, for that matter. Or his razor-close semi with Rafa one year.
6. A humbling defeat is often a good thing for a great champion. With his “own-goal” at the USO, and his French Open debacle (all credit to Rafa!) – he has lots of humbling.
I don’t believe he thinks his Adria Tour was a humbling failure, as he was trying to restart the Pro Tour and many other people and businesses and governments have had real setbacks working for “restoration of ‘Normal” from Covid shutdowns. The media spin on that was stupid. “Ohhhhhhh! The humanity!! No deaths but Positive Cases! Positive Cases!”


Alison Hodge Says:

Havent posted for a while, but just wanted to say how thrilled i am about Rafa tying Roger on 20 GS, after such a tough year this is fantastic, i must admit i had some doubts due to Rafas lack of match play, and Novak and his amazing run this year, and after Djokovic destroyed him at last years AO, “Boy oh Boy ” i expected a tight match, so i didnt expect to see this , that defeat must have really hurt Rafa, and it was hard for us fans to swallow, so its very sweet to see not only Rafa equalling Fed on GS, but also the boot been on the other foot, VAMOS RAFA ,cheers to all my fellow fans, and commies to Novak fans, cant wait for the AO , all bets are off , STAY SAFE and Well TXers , blessings Alison XX


Alison Hodge Says:

Tennis Vagabond do we count Thiem winning the USO as new gen lol ?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

CF, ‘stole’ is poetic license for how Novak demolished the expected narrative coming out of 2009-2010. Don’t be so literal!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Alison, Thiem is doing great, but he hasn’t exactly taken over the tour yet. Congrats on Rafa’s spectacular championship!


Alison Hodge Says:

Tennis Vagabond many thanks :-D


chrisford1 Says:

TV – Thanks for clarifying that for me. I was being literal.


Alison Hodge Says:

Going back many years , i remember a Federer fan boldly stating

That number 1 Nadal is stuck on 11 GS – wrong ….

That number 2 Nadal will not win anything else off clay – wrong ….

That number 3 he will never be world number 1 ever again – wrong ….

That number 4 he wont beat Djokovic anymore ….

The moral of this story is, its okay to have an opinion, but your opinion is not a bona fide fact, think before you speak, or you could look really silly, and end up scraping alot of egg off your face ….


Simon Says:

@Alison Hodge
Yep, we should all stop making predictions cause god forbid one day we could be wrong. We should start thinking real hard about the fact one day, maybe, perhaps, predictions turn out untrue, and then proceed to smash eggs into our face as a prerequisite.


Alison Hodge Says:

Simon lol i sense sarcasm in your post, your missing my point , all i was saying was have an opinion by all means, no point in being here otherwise, with it been an open forum, just dont boldly state your opinion to be a bona fide fact, keep an open mind, things can go one way or the other,nobody knows what the future will bring, have a good evening :-) ….


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