Saturday, June 12, 2021

Novak stops Rafa

Courtesy: Twitter/Roland Garros

I am yet to recover from the impact of last night's exhilarating, stratospheric level of tennis that two champions brought on to Court Philippe Chatrier.

To say that there has never been a match like this would not be quite accurate. But for sure there has never been one like this in the recent past.

The scoreline 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 doesn't say it all: the way world number one Novak Djokovic ended the reign of world number 3 and King of Clay Rafael Nadal.

What set this match apart were not just the shots that were played (every match has plenty of them) but more importantly the way they were all taken by each of the two players who covered the length and breadth of court in an exquisite display of athleticism, stamina and mental endurance. That's something that we don't find very often.

There were drop shots that sailed over tantalisingly close to the net, which drew in the opponent who took them, lobbed the ball back, but only to see the ball being brought back to play!

Novak, who had nothing much to lose here, was cool. 

Rafa on the other hand -- who has since 2005 played (till this one) 107 matches on this court and lost only two -- seemed to be weighed down by the burden of his past successes.

Nadal played some brilliant forehand down the line winners. But they weren't enough.

Rafa made 55 unforced errors and 8 double faults in comparison to 37 and 3 by Novak.

Rafa said this at the post-match press conference: “These kinds of mistakes can happen. But if you want to win, you can’t make these mistakes.”

But that is not to take away the credit Novak richly deserves. If there was one person who could get the better of Rafa it was only Novak, and he raised his game to a level that made it possible.

And Novak said after the match, "It was one of these matches you can remember forever. It was one of the top three matches in my life."

It's impossible to condense a match that lasted 4 hours 11 minutes into 6 minutes 31 seconds. That's what this highlights video is. Watch it. Better than nothing.

Just in case you would like to read the match report: on and on BBC

O, I forgot the final of the French Open is yet to be played. That's tomorrow. Djokovic will take on Tsitisipas. 

And today evening is the women's final: two unlikely contenders: Barbora Krejcikova vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Also forgotten yesterday were: 

one, the other semifinal in which Tsitsipas beat Zverev; 

two, Euro 2020 kickoff, the biggest sporting event after pandemic changed our lives; 

three, the second day's play of 2nd Test between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston; and

four, the second day's play of 1st Test between West Indies and South Africa at Gros Islet, WI.

Some welcome pleasant distraction in these times!


  1. Hari OM
    Oh my yes - so lacking of sport and now a flood!!! Soccer I don't worry. Cricket and Tennis are my summer choices; I have the cricket on the laptop (Google report only), and have been LOVING the French Open tennis. Not just that it is first in so long, but the draw made things so interesting this year and so many surprises. I agree the ladies match was mesmerising and I am happy for this very different final... but also that we had this 'old guard' battle last night as a semi-final, with a fresh men's final in prospect... well. Just fabulous. I am definitely a Tsitsipas fan these days.

    Now, dear Pradeep - I have been listening to your podcast as I type and how wonderful to hear your gentle voice riffing on the state of affairs. Keep it up - am following!!! YAM xx

    1. Hi Yamini - Yes, there is now a flood sports. And now the Olympics is coming up next month.
      Regarding the podcast, thanks for the encouragement. I like audio platforms. So, I thought why not give it a try. I am just figuring it out. So, it's a work in progress.
      I had done some episodes a year ago. But just lost track. Thought of picking it up.

  2. Hi Pradeep - I'll be back to listen to your 'gentle voice riffing on the state of affairs' as Yam puts it ...
    Amazing match ... and I've loved the tennis - hope Queens and Wimbledon will be done justice to - and we won't have football thrown in every second of the day - I dread that thought!!
    I'll be back - cheers Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary - I am looking forward to Wimbledon. As I type this, the women's final is just about to start. Regarding the podcast, I had put up the link on the top of the sidebar. But it had vanished for some reason. I have put it back. The link is It's an experiment and a work in progress. I have always liked the audio. So, I thought why not try the podcast!

  3. Very thrilling match. I didn't know you had podcast. Want to listen.

    1. Hi Rajan,
      Ya, it was a good match.
      Regarding the podcast... It's just an experiment... Work in progress!

  4. I loved this match!! And to be mention too: very exceptionally, people were allowed to stay after the curfew time to watch the game and cheer the players!

    1. Yes... I wanted to mention that in the post. Forgot... It was very nice of the authorities to have made that concession.

  5. Excellent write up for me as I missed the great match

  6. My roommate was so disappointed. She was rooting for Nadal.

  7. I used to love watching tennis matches bfore many years... gud to read about a grest match hete today. I ll go watch the highlights now... thnx for the link...

    Destination Infinity

  8. That sounds as if it was quite a match, Pradeep! I might just watch those highlights. Thank you. I do miss my cricket, though. It’s not shown on Dutch TV, and I cannot find an internet site where I could see it. Even highlights would be good...oh to see South Africa play again! :)

    1. Hi Vallypee - The highlights of many big matches are available on YouTube too. By the way, the Netherlands has a good cricket team.