If Novak Djokovic ever wants to accomplish the career Grand Slam, step one of defeating the “King of Clay” at Roland Garros had to happen. Today the 8 time major champion, did what only one man (Roger Soderling) has ever done, beat Rafael Nadal on the red clay at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal entered Wednesday’s match against World #1 Novak Djokovic with 9 titles and a 70-1 record at Roland Garros. After 2 hours and 26 minutes, Djokovic on Rafa’s 29th Birthday, maintained his 27th straight match winning streak and dethroned the King of Clay 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.
Djokovic, who has won 40 of his 42 matches this season, clearly has his sights set on obtaining his first career title at Roland Garros. Novak knows that this was a huge win, but it only means his spot is secure in the semifinals of the French Open.
When asked about playing a familiar opponent Andy Murray in the semifinals Djokovic responded, “This is not the shadow of a doubt that he has made great strides on clay. I looked a bit in Madrid and Rome too. I think he moves better than ever. It serves very well, he always has a very good ball control. It has a tennis background play absolutely outstanding, one of the best in this exercise. It is steeped in talent. Now I must advance. I just won a quarter-final but that was not the goal in itself. I’m here to win the title.”
Rafa whom was disappointment in his performance today, has hope for his future at Roland Garros, “I lost in 2009 and it’s not the end. I lost in 2015 and it’s not the end. I hope to be back here next year.” Djokovic ended Rafa’s 39 consecutive match winning streak at Roland Garros, and advanced to the semifinals where he will face Andy Murray who defeated David Ferrer 7-6 (4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
After the big win, Novak added, “Right now I’m aware that this is a big win which I will enjoy tonight but tomorrow is a new day and I will move on.”