After the match, my initial reaction was actually one of slight disappointment. I expected to see a minimum of four sets today, absolute bare minimum. It sounds ungrateful, right? Rafa’s domination here is taken for granted, especially by people like myself it may sound. These comments may prove that to an extent but as a tennis fan, I wanted to see a great match. The truth is that it is a remarkable feat and in fairness, Djokovic wasn’t all that bad at all. Its domination that I really don’t think a lot of us will see again.
It’s 100 wins at the French Open now for Nadal. That just needs to be put into some perspective. Rafa has played at Roland Garros on 16 occasions! That means he can only have won 112 matches max if his record was flawless. That is literally unheard of and if it were possible, Nadal would have done it. Trust me! Then you think he had to forfeit 5 of those possible wins at the third round stage in 2016 through a withdrawal. It blows the mind just thinking about it. Year on year he’s there and by and large nobody can get near him on the dirt. I still remember the levels Soderling had to show to beat him. Ridiculous!
I thought Djokovic would get close today. We all thought that the conditions would only be more in Nole’s favour at this time of year. It should be a bit of a leveller anyway we said. It’s fair to say we weren’t even remotely close. Djokovic admitted that himself after. As well as Rafa was playing you don’t really feel like Djokovic was anywhere near his best for two and a bit sets. He did start to fire himself up but ultimately it’s too late against Nadal. I think dwelling on that side of it though would be doing the King of clay a disservice. He didn’t really let Nole play and whatever the Serb threw at him whether it be drop shots or hitting his backhand crosscourt, Nadal simply had the answers.
The Spaniard now ties with Federer on 20 grand slam titles. He will surely surpass his great friend and with some at this rate. It is difficult to believe that he won’t be an odds on favourite in Paris next year for starters. I would expect to see Nole surpass Federer too for the record.
Whether you change the dates, the conditions, the spectators and even the tournament ball, one thing remains constant on the Chatrier. Come the third Sunday you still hear ‘Jeu, set et match Nadal! Incredible.
Andy Del Potro