‘Incredible’ – Tennis legends react to stunning Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic clash
Tim Henman, Mats Wilander and Alex Corretja have all given their reactions to the epic clash between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the French Open quarter-finals, labelling the tie as “incredible.”
On Tuesday, in their 59th career meeting, the 13-time Roland Garros champion Nadal overcame world number one Djokovic in a four hour and 11 minute epic, as the Spaniard edged out a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) win to set up a semi-final clash with Alexander Zverev.
The Spaniard had to hold firm under lots of pressure from the Serbian, with Nadal two breaks up in all of the first three sets, losing the second, and then rallied from 5-3 down in the fourth set to clinch victory at 1.15am in Paris.
The epic contest was marvelled by millions, including Eurosport pundits Tim Henman, Mats Wilander and Alex Corretja, who all gave their immediate reactions to the instant classic.
Tim Henman said: “Incredible scenes! The quality of tennis from start to finish – over four hours, well into the night – it’s just incredible.
“They bring out the best in each other. When one of them is behind, the other is almost retaliating, coming up with even better tennis. It was Nadal who got off to the fast start, but Djokovic came back and he was up in the fourth… baseline exchanges, going from corner to corner, the speed in which they’re hitting the ball with such consistency… no unforced errors, even after four hours and 21 minutes. Match point, Nadal gets the opportunity to step in, and there it is.”
Alex Corretja then added: “I was not nervous at all! I was so enthusiastic; the passion these guys showed tonight again is just amazing.
“It’s difficult to describe with words, because from the very first ball, until the end, they were hitting it as hard as they could: not too many mistakes, only winners… forehands and backhands down the line… good serves, good volleys, good drop shots… what else could you ask for? Nothing, just live the moment!
“It was like a dream to be here to watch this match, and now I understand why Rafa has a statue here because it feels like he is a knight here.”
Former world number one Mats Wilander also gave his thoughts on the monumental clash between two old rivals.
“Unbelievable effort,” he commented. “I was sitting next to Alize [Lim], and we were thinking 5-2, fourth set, should he [Nadal] let it go, maybe? He kind of let it go because he started hitting the ball harder again and we just felt like he found his rhythm again.
“Suddenly Novak started getting a little bit careless at times in that final set, and it was interesting how Novak knows exactly what he needs to do: to execute. Rafa needs to play within himself at times, but of course, to win, he has to let it out; I’m absolutely exhausted!.”
🎾 Free >> Join our legendary newsletter
🎾 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB
🎾 Social >> Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube
🎾 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine
🎾 Watch >> How to enjoy ATP/WTA/Slam tennis on TV
🎾 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner