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Rafael Nadal: “Novak is one of the best players in history”

Nadal will now face Alexander Zverev, who defeated teenage Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz earlier on Tuesday.

Big Three still keeping Next Gen at bay

Rafael Nadal teased over whether this will be his last French Open but appreciates the love of the crowd at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal insists he does not know which match will be his last at Roland Garros, but said it is the most important place of his career after defeating Novak Djokovic on Tuesday to reach his 15th French Open semi-final.

The 13-time winner at Roland Garros progressed in spectacular fashion in what was suggested could be his last match on Court Philippe-Chatrier, beating the world number one in four sets 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

Zverev next for Nadal

The 35-year-old will now face Alexander Zverev, who defeated teenage Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz earlier on Tuesday.

Nadal made it known how significant Roland Garros has been to him and his career after securing the win, but teased over the prospects of a return.

“Without a doubt, there is no other place like this one for me,” Nadal said post-match. “It’s the most important court of my tennis career, the most special one.

“For me, to feel the love of everyone here in Paris in the most important place of my career, it means everything to me.

“See you in two days, that’s the only thing that I can say.”

Nadal was largely in control against the world number one, displaying a unique familiarity with the Serbian’s game at critical points.

After Djokovic looked set to push the game to a deciding fifth set, Nadal dug deep and broke back in a monumental ninth game. He had all the momentum in the fourth-set tie-break, holding five match points at one stage before closing out.

The 21-time Grand Slam winner nevertheless asserted how tough an opponent Djokovic is, bringing out his best in what could be a last French Open.

Novak one of the best

“I’ve been in a very, very tough match,” he said afterwards. “Novak is one of the best players in history, without a doubt, so always playing against him is an amazing challenge.

“All the history that we have together, today was another one and to win against Novak, there is only one way to play - at your best from the first point until the last.

“Tonight had been one of these magic nights for me. An unexpected level, but I’m super happy.”


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