The odds and the history were surely in favor of Rafael Nadal coming into the French Open 2020 finals against Novak Djokovic. But not even Nadal himself would have seen this coming. Nadal won his 20th Grand Slam title with a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win and for the first time in their illustrious careers, equaled Roger Federer for most Grand Slams won.
While the achievement is the highest in the sport, Nadal chose not to focus on the record. Given the difficulties and challenges coming into the tournament, Nadal was glad to just have the chance to win a staggering 13th Roland Garros title. It also further establishes the respect he and Federer share for each other.
Rafael Nadal gives his thoughts on tying Federer’s record
‘A very tough year but winning here means everything to me,” Nadal said moments after his win. “It’s not the moment for me I don’t think about equalling Roger or this great number. For me is just a Roland Garros victory. Roland Garros means everything to me,” the ‘King of Clay’ added.
Nadal also stressed on the tough moments the world is facing with the coronavirus. And as has been the ‘mantra’ of his tennis career, Nadal encouraged everyone to fight through it.
“I want to send a message to everyone in the world. We are facing one of the worst moments ever… keep fighting. We will get through this,” Nadal continued.
Nadal dominant from the word ‘go’
The rain gods did make things tougher for Nadal, who loves playing under the sun and with an open roof as that aids the topspin and bounce on the court that he prefers. However, Nadal was a man on a mission.
The second seed started the match, making it clear he would not give Djokovic any free points, no matter who was serving. Nadal broke Djokovic’s serve from 15-40 in the first game itself. He soon held, before breaking Djokovic’s serve again.
Nadal then fended off three break points and after over 30 minutes on court, Djokovic did not have a single game on board. He then broke again for a 5-0 lead and then the unthinkable happened as Novak Djokovic was handed a bagel set in a Grand Slam final.
Djokovic got on the board for the first time as the second set started. Nadal took that privilege from him right away, before breaking once again on his third break-point in the third game. It isn’t that Djokovic was not making things difficult for Nadal, but the Spaniard was determined to not let anything get past him, to say the least.
The stats show a lot of unforced errors next to Djokovic’s name, but they would not mention how many times Nadal forced him into situations, further bringing out those errors from Djokovic.
With a 6-0, 6-2 lead, Nadal had Djokovic and everyone watching, stunned. Djokovic did put up a big fight in the third set, but it just felt like Nadal knew he had the match in his bag. Nadal then sealed the match in style, with an ace.