With U.S Open winner Carlos Alcaraz of Spain withdrawing due to an injury, his compatriot Rafael Nadal has been given the top billing in the men's singles draw in the Australian Open, starting in a few days.
World No. 3 Rafael Nadal, whose unbeaten streak at French Open spread over last six years was broken in Friday’s semi-finals, said world No. 1 Novak Djokovic got used to cooler Paris conditions at night better even as he himself could not produce the top level tennis expected of him.
“That’s sport. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I tried to give my best,” Nadal said after the match before adding that he could not convert the chances he got.
“I had a big chance with set point, 6-5, second serve in the third set. That is it. Anything could happen in that moment. Then I made a double fault, missed an easy volley in the tie-break. But it’s true that there were crazy points out there. The fatigue is there, too. These kind of mistakes can happen,” he added.
As the match extended into late evening and night, Nadal’s topspin shots that were bouncing high off the clay court began bouncing lower as conditions got cooler making it easier for Djokovic.
Nadal though refused to term it as an excuse and instead felt that Djokovic had got used to the conditions better.
“It does not matter. That is tennis. The player who gets used to the conditions better is the player who deserves to win. So no doubt he deserved to win,” said the world No. 3.
The Spaniard admitted he was not at his best. He made eight double faults against Djokovic’s three.
“But if you want to win, you can not make these mistakes. So that is it. Well done for him. It was a good fight out there. I tried my best, and today was not my day.
“It probably was not my best day out there. Even if I fought, put a lot of effort, the position on the shots were not that effective tonight,” Nadal said.
“Against a player like him who takes the ball early, you are not able to take him out of his positions, then it is very difficult.”