The quarter-final match, which ended after 1 a.m. in Paris, lasted more than four hours and was one of the most anticipated of the tournament.
In their head-to-head matches, more than any other two men in the sport’s professional era, Nadal has beaten Djokovic 29 times, while Djokovic has won 30.
And during Nadal’s illustrious long career, he played 113 games at Roland Garros and won 110. Djokovic is responsible for two of those three defeats in Paris.
But could this year’s Roland-Garros be Nadal’s last? It seems the 13-time Roland Garros champion, who is suffering from a nagging foot injury, isn’t sure.
On Sunday, after his five-set victory over Félix Auger-Aliassime in the round of 16, Nadal said: “Two and a half weeks ago, even though I had (positive hopes) after Rome, I didn’t even know if I would be able to be here. So I’m just enjoying the fact that I’m here for one more year. And to be honest, every game that I play here, I don’t know if it will be my last game in Roland Garros in my tennis career.”
After his four-set victory over Djokovic, he told reporters it was “one of those unforgettable nights” and that he was “doing everything” to try “to play this tournament in the best possible conditions”.
“The crowd has been incredible since the start of the tournament,” Nadal said. “I don’t know. I think they probably know I won’t be here (many) times.”
Nadal was asked if there was an extra emotional burden on him knowing that any game could be his last.
“I don’t know what can happen. I think, as I said before, that I will play this tournament because we are doing things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don’t know what will happen. pass. arrive after here,” he said.
“I have what I have in my foot, so if we can’t find an improvement or a small solution on that, then it becomes super difficult for me.”
Nadal said he was just enjoying every day at Roland Garros “without thinking too much about what might happen in the future” and would “keep fighting to find a solution”.
After the game, Djokovic praised Nadal saying he “showed why he is a great champion. You know, staying there mentally strong and finishing the game the way he did.”
The world No. 1 said: “I gave my best” but “I know I could have played better”.
“I’m proud to fight and to have stayed until the last blow. Like I said, you know, I lost to a better player today… more than four hours of fighting, and I have to accept this defeat.”