59th match between the two, Grand Slam race, fitness … what you need to know about the Djokovic-Nadal duel race

The party is thrown into the mud. One is a right-winger, number 1 in the world and current champion; the other is a left-winger, number 5 in the world and undisputed king of the Paris tournament. The fight promises to be Dantesque between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, on Tuesday 31 May, as always between the two men.

The chance of a draw placed them in the same part of the table and theThe confrontation of the 59th eur seems cooked up. At stake: a ticket to the semifinals of the tournament and, perhaps, a chance to regain the lead in the game of Grand Slam title records. Going back to the Djokovic / Christmas duel since 2006, one of the biggest in tennis.

The most prolific rivalry in history

Never before has a duel been played in history. Between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the common history amounts to 58 matches. In detail, the Serb leads the dance with 30 wins to 28. The two men, both 35, have led their careers in parallel. His first confrontation with professionals dates back to 2006, and he had already done so Roland Garros for decoration. In the quarterfinals, Rafael Nadal, then 19, had then eliminated Novak Djokovic for abandoning the Serb after winning two sets (6-4, 6-4). One of the only two games that ended with the abandonment of one of the two players, of the 58.

Since then, the balance of power has been balanced. If the Spanish reign clay (19 wins vs. 8 per Djokovic), Serbian demonstrates his superiority on hard court (20 wins to 7). Since 2020, the two men have faced each other four times: two victories for the Spaniard at Paris (2020) and Rome (2021), two for Serbian a Melbourne (2020) i Roland-Garros (2021).

The race for the Grand Slams

Only one Grand Slam title separates the list of prizes from the two players. With 21 major trophies (13 at Roland Garros, 4 at the US Open, 2 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon), Rafael Nadal is ahead of Novak Djokovic’s 20 Grand Slam tournaments (9 Australian Open, 6 Wimbledon, 3 US Open). and 2 Roland-Garros). Roger Federer, the third thief, also has 20.

If the Mallorcan has made Paris his favorite meeting place and has never lost in the final, the Serb has reached the last Sunday of the fortnight six times in the last ten editions. Since his elimination in the third round in 2009 against Philipp Kohlschreiber, Novak Djokovic has never lost before the quarterfinals of Roland-Garros.

Christmas most invincible in Paris

In Paris, there is no party. Rafael Nadal dominates his face to face with Novak Djokovic (7 wins in 9 matches). He had even become angry at the Serb, finishing his career at Porte d’Auteuil from 2006 to 2014 (6 games and 6 wins, including one in the fourth, three times in the half and twice in the second half). final).

But in 2015, Novak Djokovic got rid of the curse. A quarterfinal success in three dry sets, to become the second man in history to eliminate Christmas in Paris (after Robin Soderling in 2009). Last year, the Serb found his way back to victory against the Spanish, this time in the semifinals, after a river match (3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2). Having been crowned twice at Roland-Garros, the world number one has paved the way for the possible. Although he was defeated 18 times in 26 games for Christmas on that surface.

A reverse dynamic since 2021

Operated at the foot of Muller-Weiss Syndrome last September, Rafael Nadal ended his 2021 season in August, following his defeat to Lloyd Harris in Washington. Back on the Australian tour circuit, the then sixth in the world wasted no time. A win in Melbourne, a 21st Grand Slam crown record at the Australian Open, another success in Acapulco and then a losing final in Indian Wells, all went well for Christmas. Except he was injured in the ribs, only to return to Madrid in early May. With results at half-mast: elimination in the quarterfinals in the Spanish capital, one in the second round in Rome, with a small alert again for the foot in Italy. “VSEvery game I play here can be, who knows, my last game at Roland Garros or my career. So I’m making the most of it. “ he stated, lucidly, the Spaniard at a press conference at the start of the tournament.

On the other hand, Novak Djokovic started the season very badly. Unvaccinated against Covid-19, he first lived a long legal and media soap opera, to end his expulsion from Australia, without participating in the first Major of the season. The same goes for the United States, where he could not play the US mini-tour in March. Beaten in the quarterfinals in Dubai, entering Monte-Carlo, then gradually gaining speed. Final in Belgrade, semi-final in Madrid, victory in Rome, the world number 1 regained his confidence before reaching Paris.

This year, Djokovic more expeditious than Christmas

This year, Rafael Nadal has spent more than three hours on the track more than Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard had a good scare on Sunday at the Philippe-Chatrier track, forced to leave after five sets against the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, in more than four hours of play, he has already covered 4 kilometers on the Paris tracks where it took 10 hours and 43 minutes. Far from being trivial for the returning player from an injury.

Novak Djokovic was more expeditious. May 29, Novak Djokovic he won the round of 16 at the expense of Diego Schwartzman in three small sets (6-1, 6-3, 6-3). Like its previous matches, the world number one has not yet yielded a single round in this fortnight, remaining 7 hours and 13 minutes on the slopes.

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