Eurosport players Tim Henman, Mats Wellander and Alex Corretga have given their immediate reactions to Rafael Nadal’s stunning victory over Novak Djokovic at the French Open.
The 13-time champion overcame the world number one and current champion in four grueling sets in Tuesday’s night match as fans faced an epic showdown between the old rivals.
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It was an absolutely amazing competition, and Henman, Willander and Corretja were all working on what they saw in the Eurosport studio, and they couldn’t quite believe Nadal had done it again.
“Unbelievable scenes! The quality of the tennis from start to finish – over four hours, until the night – is incredible,” Hinman exclaimed.
“They showed the best of each other. When one of them gets late, the other almost retaliates, and comes out with a better tennis. It was Nadal who got the quick start, but Djokovic came back and there was the fourth… Baseline exchange, going from corner to corner, speed. They hit the ball with such consistency… No unintended fouls, even after four hours and 21 minutes. Match point, Nadal gets a chance to tackle, and that is.”
Corretga added: “I wasn’t nervous at all! I was so excited. The passion that these people showed tonight again is amazing.
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“It’s hard to describe it in words, because from the first ball to the end, they hit it as hard as they could: not many fouls, only winners… forehands and backhands on the line… good serve, good air balls, good shots.. What else could you ask for?Nothing, just live in the moment!
“It was like a dream to be here to watch this match, and now I understand why Rafa has a statue here because he feels like a knight here.”
Wellander agreed: “Unbelievable effort! I was sitting next to Alice [Lim]and we were thinking 5-2, the fourth set, should we [Nadal] Let it go, perhaps? He kind of let it go because he started hitting the ball really hard again and we feel like he’s finding his rhythm again.
“Suddenly Novak started feeling a little sloppy sometimes in that final set, and it was interesting how Novak knew exactly what he needed to do: execute. Rafa needs to play inside himself sometimes, but of course, to win, I have to let her go. I’m totally exhausted!”
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