Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic meet at French Open quarterfinals

“The game with Djokovic could be my last game here,” Nadal said in a somber voice on Sunday. “I know Roland Garros during the day and prefer to play during the day. I’ve been through a complicated situation with my foot and I don’t know what’s going to happen to my career. What I’m trying to do is enjoy and live the dream of playing tennis and reaching the final rounds of Roland Garros.”

Despite that plea, the organizers of the French Open remained unconvinced or perhaps had contractual obligations to Amazon Prime Video, which owns the night session rights in France.

Number 59 will be an evening game, much like the remarkable semi-final between the two at last year’s French Open turned into one after they started in the late afternoon.

“Unfortunately, they play here a round earlier every year,” said Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic’s coach. “Two years ago it was the final. Last year it was the semi-finals and now the quarter-finals, but it’s probably the best quarter-final ever in French Open history.”

Their two previous quarter-final matches at Roland Garros were actually not a big shock. In the first in 2006, their first meeting at any level, Djokovic retired with an injury after losing the first two sets.

In 2015, Djokovic, on top form with Nadal in a prolonged slump, became only the second man to beat Nadal at Roland Garros, beating him 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in what erroneously looked like the end of a era for Nadal at the French Open. He won it four more times.

But he didn’t win it last year as Djokovic became the first man to beat Nadal twice at the French Open, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 in a match that peaked intensity and shotmaking. . in the third set for Nadal, struggling with his foot and Djokovic’s excellence, faded in the fourth.

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