The world No. 1 and No. 3, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, will clash in the French Open semi finals on Friday at 4:30 p.m. (WAT) at the Court Philippe Chatrier in Paris.
The pair has met 57 times, with Djokovic holding a 29-28 advantage.
Djokovic predicts a “difficult fight” in the historic French Open semi-final against claycourt king Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, on the other hand, has been his nemesis at Roland Garros, winning seven of their eight meetings there, including last year’s final, which was a rout.
Djokovic, who has 18 Grand Slam titles, two behind the men’s record shared by Nadal and Roger Federer, told reporters after beating heavy-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 6-7(5) 7-5 in an intense duel on Wednesday.
The First Seed stated:
“Obviously it’s a well-anticipated semi-final.”
“It’s not like any other match. Let’s face it, it’s the biggest challenge that you can have playing on clay against Nadal on this court. It doesn’t get bigger than that.”
“There’s that extra tension and expectations. The vibes are different walking on the court with him. But that’s why our rivalry has been historic I think for this sport.”
“I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s have a great battle.”
“I thought the atmosphere was Davis Cup like, to be honest,” It was a lot of fans involved, every single point cheering, screaming. Just electric atmosphere out there.”
When Djokovic takes on Nadal, he will be playing in his 11th Roland Garros semi-final. Nadal’s only losses on the Parisian clay were against Djokovic in 2015 and Robin Soderling in 2009.
When Rafael Nadal defeated Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday, he won his 105th match at the French Open, despite dropping a set for the first time since the 2019 final.
Looking ahead to Djokovic he said: “It’s always a big challenge. That’s something that is good because we are living the sport for these moments. The negative thing, it’s difficult because you play against one of the best players in history.”