Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have met at Roland Garros for the past three years. Djokovic dethroned Nadal in 2021, and the Spaniard had the upper hand in 2020 and 2022. While the previous two confrontations lasted more than four hours, it was a one-sided match in the 2020 final, where Nadal scored 6-0, 6-2, winning 7 -5 on the title of Roland Garros thirteenth.
The 2020 season has been curtailed by the pandemic, and Nadal had one last chance to get a major at Roland Garros in October. Rafa had to contend with difficult conditions in Paris, as he sought the thirteenth Parisian title in October rather than June.
The Spaniard has come to Paris with just three matches in his legs since the end of February. He also encountered new Wilson balls, cold and rainy weather and a roof over Court Philippe Chatrier. The final against Novak Djokovic should have continued with a roof over their heads, which was not the ideal scenario for the Spaniard.
However, Rafa was ready to give his all and beat a superb rival in his favorite Major, clearly saying it to Carlos Moya and Francisco Roig when they informed him of the roof before the match. Standing behind his words, Rafa proved to be too strong for Novak and beat the world no.
1 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in one of the most important matches of the century. Nadal scored his 100th victory in 102 Paris matches, a testament to his unparalleled dominance on clay! Suffering only eight breaks in seven matches, Nadal delivered one of his best serving performances in Paris to push opponents to the limit on comeback and bring all the confrontations home in straight sets!
Thus, Nadal took the twentieth championship title and became the third oldest champion in Paris. Rafa had to be aggressive and focus on the fiercest opponent in the title match. He did everything right and left Novak far behind in the first two sets.
Nadal scored 31 winning goals and 14 unforced errors, taming his strikes well from both flanks and stealing half of the return points to make up the decisive difference. Novak made 50 unforced errors and was unable to challenge the opponent for more than two hours or win a set despite a solid effort in the third.
Nadal defeated Djokovic in straight sets to win the Roland Garros 2020 title.
Rafa lost his serve once, which wasn’t enough for Novak to feel comfortable. The Serb did almost nothing on the comeback and had no idea how to outsmart the Spaniard in the shortest four-stroke rallies, which is the area where he should have taken the advantage.
On a perfect start, Rafa made bread in the opening match and repeated what he did against Roger Federer in Paris in 2008. Nadal served well in the second set to increase pressure on Djokovic and break it twice to achieve a 6-0, 6-2 advantage in no time!
They stayed neck and neck until 5-5 in the third after trading breaks in the middle of the set. Novak double-faulted in that match 11 to lose his serve, and Rafa clinched the title after another fine a few minutes later.
“When they came to tell us that the final would be played indoors, we wonder how we would announce it to Rafa. Fifteen minutes before the match, Francisco Roig told him. Rafa replied, ‘I don’t care; it doesn’t matter; I’m going to win this match.'”
Rafa had never said such a thing to me before, and he knows it won’t fail. He is a humble human being, he was not arrogant. “He felt confident and secure about his game,” Carlos Moya said.