Defeated Novak Djokovic expressed little shock at the fitness of rival Rafael Nadal after going down 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) to the 13-time champion in their high-profile Roland Garros quarter-final.

The match which went for more than four hours – an hour per set – and ended Wednesday morning after a Tuesday night start, put Nadal into a semi-final with Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic said comebacks are par for the course in the case of Nadal, who missed six weeks of the clay season due to a healing rib injury and his chronic foot pain problem which doctors say they cannot really fix.

“I’m not surprised at all. It’s not the first time that he is able to few days after he’s injured and barely walking to come out 100 per cent physically fit,” the world No. 1 said.

“He’s done it many times in his career.”

The top seed added: “I lost to a better player today. Had my chances. Didn’t use them. That’s it.

French Open Day 10 31/05/2022 Novak Djokovic (SRB) and Rafa Nadal (ESP) meet for the 59th time in quarter final match
Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“Over four hours’ battle, and I have to accept.”

Djokovic joined the growing chorus of criticism over the new night match innovation which has drawn fire for 20.45 starts and late finishes.

“There are differences of opinions about the night sessions. I think they are starting too late, to be honest. 

“But TV decides. That’s the world we are living in. Broadcasters say it’s going to be night match, day match. 

“They give the money. They decide. This defeat.”


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