When the brand new roof of the Chatrier closed, enclosing the court a few minutes from the final meeting of a fortnight forever unique, no one said it too loudly, because Rafael Nadal would soon be on the other side of the net. But everyone thought about it very hard, because in front of Rafa, there would be Novak Djokovic.
Could the first “indoor” final in the history of Roland-Garros, in these unique climatic and atmospheric conditions, change because the sky was no longer in their sights? Well no. No need to make the suspense last longer. Because, of suspense, there was not. And Novak Djokovic, unbeaten this year when he had gone to the end of his racket in hand, had a nightmarish afternoon as possible.
Nightmarish, because Rafael Nadal is an all-Earthman. The Iberian with now 20 Grand Slam titles has folded the entry case. A first set as a bicycle wheel and the world number 1 was already no longer in the mirror. If there was only one stat from this one-sided final, or even deadlock for Djoko, it would be this one: 52, like the number of unforced errors he conceded on Sunday. And since Rafa had not decided to spare him …
I was completely upgraded
Besides, the Serbian didn’t have much to say when he had to explain the why and how of such a rousing. “You know, I don’t have much to say except that I was completely outclassed by Rafa, the best player on the court, he acknowledged. He didn’t miss a thing and handed every ball, playing perfectly tactically. I thought I was in great shape throughout the tournament. I certainly could have played better in the first two sets especially. But his quality of tennis, his level… He is phenomenal. He played a perfect game, especially in the first two sets. “
However, Novak Djokovic, like wise observers, believed that the conditions would be more favorable to him. Because the fall, because the heavy earth, because the roof. But there was Rafa. As a result, Djoko quickly understood that this coveted 18th major title should be sought in Australia in 2021 rather than in Paris in 2020. “I also thought that the conditions would be more favorable for me, he confirmed at a press conference. I felt good, I had won in Rome on top of that. But there you go, Rafa has proven everyone wrong. That’s why he’s such a huge champion. He’s only lost twice here in his career. You can use all the superlatives, he deserves them. “
Usually I win the point nine times out of ten
During the fortnight, Djokovic had relied a lot on the amortizations. They had made her happy. Not Sunday. If he has any regret, it’s probably tactical. The world number 1 thinks he hasn’t done everything well, on the contrary. “I probably rushed too much, I tried to shorten the rally and hit winning shots. But I didn’t build my points well. But that’s also because of him, by his incredible defense. Usually, after two or three exchanges from the baseline, forehand or backhand, I win the point nine times out of ten. But not against him, under these conditions. “
To a colleague who handed him a pole and offered to reveal to the whole world a possible physical glitch behind the fagots, the Serb replied, without marching: “No, no, I was fine. Everything was fine. I was ready for this game. I just got outscored by a guy who played perfectly today.” As easy as that. And class.