Following consistent results in notable tournaments over the last 15 months, Novak Djokovic had a chance to become the world No. 2 for the first time in Hamburg in 2008. Facing clay-court king Rafael Nadal in the semi-final, Djokovic He gave it his all in a 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 loss after three hours and three minutes.
Rafa prevailed with a great performance in the decider, although he had to make an effort at every point to come out on top and continue on the path to the title. Nadal converted only five points more than Djokovic and defended 15 of his 19 break point opportunities to stay afloat.
The Spaniard crossed the finish line with five return games under his belt, rallying after the second set and emerging on top. The two great rivals recorded a similar number of winners, with Novak sitting above Rafa in the forced errors department.
However, the Serb squandered that advantage in the unforced error segment, pulverizing too many of them, often at crucial moments, to propel the Spaniard into the title clash against World No. 1 Roger Federer. The match continues under the roof of Center Court, with Novak earning early break chances with a volley winner in game two.
He forced the Spaniard's error to grab an early break and set a good pace. Finding his rhythm, Djokovic put a forehand winner down the line in game three to cement the lead, winning 14 of the initial 18 points. Nadal trailed 30-0 in game four and seemed powerless against a determined opponent.
Rafa converted two break point opportunities and brought the game home to put his name on the scoreboard. Novak wasted game points at 3-1 and lost serve when Rafa landed a forehand winner down the line.
Djokovic slams the media
Novak Djokovic recently opened up about the ordeal he has gone through this year amid the vaccination controversy.
"I stay true to my values and to things that I believe in and I believe in freedom of choice and I believe that everyone should have possibility to choose what they would to do their bodies, so I made my decision," Djokovic said.
Djokovic also shed some light on the difficulties he faced at the hands of the media. He stated that he was "unfortunate" to go through such times, and also accused the media of not being "very nice" to him.
"On the other hand you know that the spotlight that you mentioned unfortunately this year it created a lot of negative spotlight," the Serb said. "The media has not been very nice to me, but I kind of expected it because the media is not always so nice when there is an agenda in terms of strategy."