Rafael Nadal proved he’s still the undisputed King of Clay today outlasting and outplaying rival Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7 in a 4 hour, 37 minute epic today in the French Open semifinals.
“This was a really emotional match, that’s the truth,” said Nadal. “I lost a match like this in Australia. This one was for me. I’m more than happy about the way I fought in the fifth, after losing a big chance in the fourth. Djokovic always comes back. [To win a match like this] you need to love the game. You need to love what you are doing and appreciate every moment.
“I have learned to enjoy suffering in these matches, because what is much harder is to be [injured] at home in Mallorca, watching these matches on TV.”
Nadal has won 58 of 59 matches at the French Open and his last 26 since losing to Robin Soderling in 2009. Nadal also has now reached all nine events he’s played this year. A remakrable effort considering the 27-year-old spent the last half of 2012 mending a knee.
“It’s been an unbelievable match to be a part of, but all I can feel now is disappointment; that’s it,” Djokovic said. “I congratulate my opponent because he showed the courage in the right moments and went for his shots and, you know, when he was a break down in the fifth, he made some incredible shots from the baseline.
“I congratulate him because that’s why he’s a champion. That’s why he’s been ruling Roland Garros for many years, and for me it’s another year.”