Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met for the first time on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the 2006 Roland Garros quarterfinals. It is the young Serb's first Major quarterfinal, and he gave his best against the defending champion.
and had Nadal running for his victory before retiring trailing 6-4, 6-4 after one hour and 54 minutes. Rafa won 20 points more than Novak and worked hard for every one of them after a valiant effort from the Serb. Nadal was broken three times and converted half of the return points in five breaks that sent him two sets to love in front.
Novak lost serve in the first game of the encounter before firing his forehand to recover the break and put his name on the scoreboard. The Spaniard broke again in the third game and cemented the 3-1 lead. Novak closed out game seven with an ace to stay within a break deficit and added a backhand error in the next to propel Rafa 5-3 up.
Djokovic secured game nine with a forehand winner before Nadal held at love to wrap up game one in 47 minutes and gain momentum. Early in the second set, the Spaniard broke and brought the second game home for a 2-0 lead. Struggling physically, Novak double-faulted in game three to fall behind 3-0 and asked for a trainer for his left thigh.
Losing ground a bit after that break, Rafa got broken in game four before stealing Novak's serve again following the Serb's loose shot. In game six, Nadal added a forehand error to give to Djokovic before holding love in game eight with a forehand winner for a 5-3 lead.
Serving for the set at 5-4, the defending champion added a service winner to hold on to 15 and the two-sets-to-love lead. In the opening game of the third set, Djokovic hit a loose backhand and decided to drop out and push Nadal into the semis.
After the match, Djokovic stated that Nadal did not feel comfortable against him on the court, it was difficult for him to read his shots and he did not look so unbeatable.
Tyson pays tribute to Djokovic
During a recent podcast interview reported by Tennis365, Mike Tyson, after revealing that tennis has changed his daughter's life, spoke about the current men's circuit and revealed that Novak Djokovic is his favorite player.
“Novak Djokovic is my favorite player. If he's okay, I really enjoy watching him play. He's my favorite because the way he came back from injury and beat guys like Nadal and Federer is impressive. He's a real fighter."