Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal renew their 16-year-old epic rivalry as the tennis giants clash at the French Open on Tuesday with a semi-final spot at stake. The much-awaited game will see both men playing in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros for the 16th time. Nadal, who is nearly 36, flaunts an excellent record in Paris with 109 wins and just three losses in the French capital. The Spaniard was taken to five sets for only the third time in his tournament history by young Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round.
Overall, Djokovic leads Nadal 30-28 since their first career meeting at the 2006 French Open. Nadal has a 19-8 edge on clay and has won seven of the pair’s nine meetings in Paris. Djokovic, however, was victorious in the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2021 on his way to a second title.
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Post the defeat, Nadal skipped Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open, and then claimed the Australian Open crown to register a record-setting 21st Grand Slam title, breaking a tie with Djokovic and Roger Federer.
In the lead-up to the exciting clash, Djokovic has reached the last eight with ease. The Serbian has won 22 sets in a row, a run stretching back to his Italian Open triumph in Rome. Officials have confirmed that the pair’s 59th career meeting will be the late match under the lights of Court Philippe Chatrier. Nadal and Djokovic have played one match each after dark.
“I don’t like to play on clay during the night, because the humidity is higher, the ball is slower, and there can be very heavy conditions especially when it’s cold,” said Nadal.
As Nadal and Djokovic look to light up Paris once again, let’s have a look at head-to-head numbers –
The two have faced each other 58 times, more than any other player. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 30 wins to 28. The Serbian has also won the most finals: 15 to 13 for the Spaniard. But Nadal has won the most of their 17 Grand Slam meetings. He has trumped the opponent 10 times and lost on seven occasions.
Out of 58 meetings between Djokovic and Nadal, 27 were played on hard courts, 27 on clay, and four on grass. Both tennis giants have met in the finals of all four Grand Slam tournaments. On clay, Djokovic is the player who most challenged the Spaniard. He is is the only player to have beaten the Spaniard in four clay-court finals and the only active player to have beaten him at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal has won 91 ATP titles in his career, four more than Novak Djokovic (20).
Nadal’s 91 ATP titles are broken down as follows:
Grand Slam: 21
Masters : 0
Masters 1000: 36
ATP 500: 23
ATP 250: 10
Djokovic’s 87 ATP titles are broken down as follows:
Grand Slam: 20
Masters 1000: 38
ATP 500: 14
ATP 250: 10
They arrived in Paris with contrasting build-ups to the claycourt major. While Djokovic looked in top form during his Rome triumph, Nadal was troubled by a chronic foot problem and lost in the Madrid quarter-finals before a third-round exit in Rome.
Djokovic beat the Spaniard in the semi-finals last year before he defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas to lift the trophy in Paris for the second time.
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