The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal couldn't win the 14th title at his beloved Roland Garros, suffering a tough semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic after a thriller. The 58th encounter between two tennis giants lasted for four hours and 11 minutes, and Novak prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 for his sixth Roland Garros final and the second win over Rafa in Paris.
Losing the previous five matches against the Spaniard on clay, the Serb gave his best to change that and remain on the course for the 19th Major title that would send him closer to Nadal and Federer. Novak celebrated the tenth Major win over Rafa after his most prominent performance in Paris, firing 50 winners and stealing the Spaniard's serve eight times to cross the finish line first.
Dealing with fatigue and failing to match the rival's opponent in the fourth set, Nadal got broken thrice in a row to propel Djokovic over the top and experience his third loss in Paris since 2005. Mighty disappointed, Rafa said he wouldn't play at the ATP 250 event at home in Mallorca in two weeks, although he would have loved it.
Also, Rafa couldn't tell much about the upcoming Wimbledon, saying he can't think about the schedule after such a long and grueling encounter. Due to a back injury, Nadal played only one tournament in the first three months of the season, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-final despite winning the opening two sets.
Rafael Nadal can't think about his schedule after a loss in Paris.
Returning to his favorite surface, Rafa lost to Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo quarter-final and saved a match point in a thrilling Barcelona Open final against Tsitsipas for the season's first title.
Alexander Zverev ousted the Spaniard in Madrid before Rafa secured the tenth Rome Open title ahead of Roland Garros, where he couldn't extend his dominance. "I'm not playing in Mallorca on grass, although I would have loved it.
It's impossible this year, as it goes a week before Wimbledon, and I don't have time to prepare. I can't tell much about my schedule now; I have played a lot since April, and I still have to decide about Wimbledon. I don't have the mental clarity to think about it now, as I need to calm down a bit," Rafael Nadal said.