Rafael Nadal released Novak Djokovic at the end of the night at Roland Garros. A victory in four sets and in more than four hours of play in this quarter-final between the two giants. For the sports editorialist of the morning of Europe 1, Virginie Phulpin, this confrontation is one of those matches that make the history of the tournament.
This game marked hearts and minds. Two tennis titans clashed until half past one in the morning from Tuesday to Wednesday in the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros: Rafael Nadal against Novak Djokovic. According to our editorialist Virginie Phulpin, this monument which the whole world witnessed was well worth a few untimely yawns this Wednesday. Because it’s the kind of match where you can say: “I was there, I saw it, or I listened to it on Europe 1.”
This match did not keep its promises, it went beyond
“Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both said it afterwards, it’s a little late, this night session, anyway. The children had been in bed for a long time when the king of the earth took over the keys of the central court. But they offered us a moment of eternity and the cold Parisian night, this humidity which made the clay more sticky, more slippery also participated in building this timeless masterpiece.
When a match is so expected, when we know from the start that it will be the poster for the fortnight, we are often a little disappointed. Your best night of the year is rarely the one you checked off on the calendar. This match did not keep its promises, it went well beyond. Not always for the level of acting, but for the intensity, the emotion, the dramaturgy.
Rafael Nadal started by grabbing Novak Djokovic by the throat, preventing him from breathing. It lasted a set and a half, before the world number 1 regained all its bite. It was long, bitter, disputed. Tie, advantage, tie, advantage, many games lasted more than 10 minutes without knowing which way the balance was going to tip.
Because these two are not made like you and me, because they are two of the best players in history. When they clash, even for the 59th time, we want more until the end of the night.
Novak Djokovic was immense, but Rafael Nadal is eternal
The big favorite for this quarter-final was Novak Djokovic. Rafael Nadal is tired, Rafael Nadal has foot pain, Rafael Nadal doesn’t like playing at night. Three weeks ago, he was closer to the package than the semi-finals. We had plenty of reasons not to believe it.
He often says it: “I allow myself to play badly but I never allow myself not to believe it.” When Novak Djokovic equalized to a set everywhere, we could say that it was over for Nadal, that he could not hold the shock physically. We’ve been having it for 17 years. This player is not made like the others. He knows how to draw deep within himself to impose himself. And when he is at Roland-Garros, the magic happens, he defends his land, the one that has seen him triumph 13 times already, the one on which he will forever remain the best in the history of tennis.
Rafael Nadal can dream of a 14th crown. He will also celebrate his 36th birthday on Friday in the semi-finals with the eternal smile of a child happy to be there.”