Rafael Nadal insisted that Novak Djokovic had been knocked out but that he still had work to do to win the 14th French Open and said it was “too late” to play after their quarter-finals on Wednesday morning.
The Spaniard is still on track to win a record-breaking 22nd men’s Grand Slam title and will face third-seeded Alexander Zaverev in the semifinals on his 36th birthday on Friday.
Nadal won 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) in his head-to-head 8-2 against defending champion Djokovic at Roland Garros, which ended just after 1:00 a.m. local time.
“In the end it was a very emotional night for me,” Nadal said. “I’m still playing tonight.
But is it just a quarter-final match? So I could not win anything. I am giving the opportunity to return to court in just two days. Another semifinal match here at Roland Garros means a lot to me. “
The match ended in a calm atmosphere under the lights of Court Philippe Chatterjee, with many fans covering themselves with blankets as the match stretched from May to June.
“It was a very emotional night.”
– Roland-Garos (landrolandgarros) June 1, 2022
Asked not to play in the night session, Nadal said: “It’s too late, no doubt.
“I can’t complain because we have two days off now, but if you only have one day off, or you were in Madrid like Xavier, when he had to play in the final the next day, that’s a big problem.
“I understand the other part of the business, of course, is that television pays a lot of money …
“We need to find a balance.”
Nadal, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, has struggled with a chronic leg injury in recent weeks.
He said before his match with Djokovic that this could be his last match on Paris soil.
“I don’t know what could happen,” he admits. “As I said before, I am going to play this tournament because we are doing something to get ready to play this tournament, but I do not know what will happen next.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“That’s why. I enjoy every day that I have the opportunity to be here, and not worry too much about what might happen in the future.”
If he wins the trophy on Sunday, Nadal will overtake Djokovic and Roger Federer in the list of top men’s titles.
However, he played less of the importance of fighting in the ‘Big Three’.
“It simply came to our notice then. We have fulfilled our dreams. We made history in this game because we did something that has never happened before. “
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