Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have met at Roland Garros in the last three years. Djokovic dethroned Nadal in 2021, and the Spaniard came out on top in 2020 and 2022. While the previous two meetings lasted more than four hours, the 2020 final was a one-sided affair, as Nadal posted a 6-0 triumph, 6-2 and 7-5 to get his 13th Roland Garros crown.
The 2020 season was curtailed due to the pandemic, with Nadal having one last chance to win a Major at Roland Garros in October. Rafa had to deal with difficult conditions in Paris, seeking the 13th Parisian title in October instead of June.
The Spaniard arrived in Paris with only three games in his legs since the end of February. He too had to contend with the new Wilson balls, cold and rainy weather and a roof over the Philippe-Chatrier court. The final against Novak Djokovic had to be played with a roof over his head, which is never a perfect scenario for the Spaniard.
Even so, Rafa was willing to give it his all and beat a major rival in the Major who was his favourite, telling Carlos Moyá and Francisco Roig that clearly when they informed him of the roof before the match. Backing up his words, Rafa was too strong for Novak and beat the world No.
1 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in one of the biggest matches of the century. Nadal scored his 100th win out of 102 meetings in Paris, a testament to his unrivaled dominance at the Clay Major. After suffering just eight breaks in seven matches, Nadal put on one of his best serving displays in Paris to push his opponents to the limit in the second leg and take every match home in straight sets.
In this way, Nadal won the 20th Major crown and became the third oldest champion in Paris. Rafa had to be aggressive and focused against the most formidable opponent in the title clash.
Nadal expresses his happiness
Speaking to Angelo Mangiante on Sky Sports, Rafael Nadal shed light on his relationship with Swiss maestro Roger Federer.
"With Roger, I have a good relationship and a special feeling. After the victory, he wrote me a message to compliment me," Nadal said. Nadal also expressed his happiness at his Roland Garros victory, highlighting the difficulties he had to overcome to emerge with the trophy in Paris.
"It's an incredible story, difficult for me to explain, but that's the way things are and I'm particularly happy. The last three and a half months have been difficult, there has been a lot of work behind it but also with many limitations. Being able to go all the way to Roland Garros with a win is very exciting," said Nadal.