Novak Djokovic Roland Garros 2021 Nadal

Novak Djokovic: ‘You have to climb Mount Everest to meet Rafael Nadal challenge here’

Novak Djokovic says his performance to beat Rafael Nadal in the French Open semi-final was one of the best of his entire career.

Djokovic rallied after losing the first set to carve out a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 win on Friday night to inflict a rare Roland Garros defeat on Nadal.

He has often described playing Nadal on the red dirt of Paris as the ‘ultimate challenge in sport,’ and after overcoming it for a second time, he was understandably proud of his achievement.

“It’s hard to find words for Rafa’s achievement in Roland-Garros,” Novak Djokovic said. “The amount of wins on this court is incredible.

“You know you have to climb Mount Everest when you meet him here.

“It’s the best match I played in Roland-Garros and in the top three ever.

“Considering the level, the opponent and the atmosphere… one of the matches I’ll remember forever.

“I didn’t have a great start but I played well and I think it was the time to adjust to his ball. His ball is so different you know.

“But I was okay, I was clear on how to do to perform. I managed to get myself back in the 1st set. I found my game.

“I was not too nervous at 0-5 [in the first set]. It was very different than last year. I just found my groove. After 3-6 in the first, I was in the match.”

Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.