Nadal, Djokovic eye history as Roland Garros embraces quiet night in
- Updated: May 26, 2021
PARIS: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will set their sights on more Grand Slam history at Roland Garros as the French Open embraces a new and eerily empty era of night time tennis.
A 14th title in Paris for Nadal would take him to a record-setting 21st major, surpassing the mark he shares with Roger Federer who has already written off his hopes of adding to his lone success in the French capital back in 2009.
Djokovic, the champion in 2016, can move to 19 Grand Slam titles with victory.
That would make the world number one the first man in over half a century to win all four majors on multiple occasions.
Nadal arrives in Paris buoyed by having defeated Djokovic in the Rome Masters final in what was the pair’s 57th meeting.
It was Nadal’s 10th title in the Italian capital.
Not that he was reading too much into the statistics as far as Roland Garros is concerned.
“I think I can work on a couple of things that I can do a little bit better,” he insisted.
- ‘Work right way’ –
“I just need to keep going. I know what I need to work on and I’m going to do it. Work, relax mentally, and work the right way.”
At last year’s delayed Roland Garros, Nadal swept past Djokovic in straight sets in the final.
It was Nadal’s 100th win at the tournament against just two losses since his 2005 title-winning debut.
Giving Djokovic hope, however, is the knowledge that he was responsible for one of those losses, in the 2015 quarter-finals.
He is also a four-time runner-up although three of those defeats in the championship match came against the Spaniard.
Only two men have previously managed to win all four of the Slams on more than one occasion — Roy Emerson and Rod Laver of Australia.
Laver’s achievement came back in 1969.
“I think I have a good chance to go all the way in Paris, but of course it’s a long shot,” said Djokovic who captured the season’s first Grand Slam title in Australia for a ninth time in February.
Federer, with his 40th birthday fast approaching, remains the sentimental favourite but his priority will be an assault on Wimbledon where he has been champion eight times.