Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2023

Novak Djokovic breaks Rafael Nadal’s incredible Roland Garros record with fourth round win

Novak Djokovic has broken another record after beating Juan Pablo Varillas in comfortable fashion to reach the Roland Garros quarter-final. 

Djokovic beat Varillas, 6-3 6-2 6-2, to end the Peruvian’s incredible streak of only playing five-set matches at major tournaments.

By reaching the quarter-final for a 17th time, Djokovic becomes the only player to do so at the Paris major, as he overtakes the 14-time champion Rafael Nadal who has just undergone psoas surgery.

The Serb was full of well wishes for his great rival, “It was his birthday yesterday, and he announced that he got his surgery. I got one surgery in my career on the elbow, and I know how hard it is to get back.”

He continued, “It’s just one of those things that you don’t want any athlete to go through. Sometimes I guess it’s necessary. For him it’s been several times now throughout his career.”

“I don’t know what the severity of or the nature of his injury is, but, you know, if he got on a surgery table, it means there was no other solution. So, you know, I really hope that, yeah, his rehabilitation process can go well and that we can see him next season.”

Nadal revealed the usual recovery time for psoas surgery is five months, and Djokovic spoke of how he hoped to see ‘one of the greatest legends of tennis’ return healthy for a potential last season in 2024.

“I think that he’s so important for our game on and off the court, one of the greatest legends of tennis in the history of the game,” claimed Djokovic.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion added, “We want to see healthy Rafa, no question about it, playing for what he has announced his last season. You know, hopefully he’s gonna be able to do that.”

Djokovic also reflected on his latest achievement, admitting that he was focussing on his next match against Karen Khachanov as he attempts to become the first 23-time males singles Grand Slam champion.

“I’m proud of it but my attention is already on the next match,” explained Djokovic. “Obviously quarter-finals, Khachanov, I know what my goal is here. I’m trying to stay mentally the course and of course not look too far.”

“Obviously, the performance of today gives me a great deal of confidence about how I felt, about how I played. So, I’m looking forward to the next match.”

Novak Djokovic makes history with 17th Roland Garros Quarter-final

Many people are surprised that Djokovic has reached more quarter-finals of Roland Garros, where Nadal has been so dominant.

But, what also came out in all of this is that Nadal has reached more quarter-finals of the Australian Open, where Djokovic has been champion 10 times.

Here is the incredible statistic in numbers:

Australian Open

Number of titles: Djokovic (10) – Nadal (2)

Number of Quarter-finals: Djokovic (13) – Nadal (14)

Roland Garros

Number of titles: Djokovic (2) – Nadal (14)

Number of Quarter-finals: Djokovic (17) – Nadal (16)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.