Tennis news 2022, Roland-Garros schedule, match Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic, head to head

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This French Open is the first Grand Slam tournament in a year with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on the field. And anyone who loves men’s tennis – or, for that matter, sports – should be thrilled to see these two titans of the game face off for a record-breaking 59th time.

Is it a pity that the match is “only” a quarter-final, instead of a higher stake? Maybe. Will this deter watching from afar or will it deaden the atmosphere that will envelop the Court Philippe Chatrier? Doubtful.

Could this diminish the intensity of each player’s performance? No chance.

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“I’m ready for this,” Djokovic said.

“Hopefully I can give myself a chance to play at the highest possible level,” Nadal said, “and then we’ll see.”

So the question that Nadal will have on his mind – and we know this because he said it – and Djokovic might too, is: how many more of these clashes are they going to have?

Watch Roland-Garros on 9Gem and 9Now or every match, ad-free, live and on demand with courts in 4K, on Stan Sports.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain. (Getty)

First of all, Nadal turns 36 on Friday; Djokovic turned 35 on May 22, the first day of Roland-Garros.

“I don’t know what can happen in the near future with my career,” Nadal said.

His body has been a big deal for the past 12 months. He missed the last half of last season, including Wimbledon and the US Open, with chronic pain in his left foot which flared up again in recent weeks. After starting 20-0 in 2022, he missed three tournaments with a rib injury.

“I can’t complain too much,” Nadal said, noting that two and a half weeks ago he didn’t know if he would go that far.

“To be honest, every game I play here, I don’t know if it will be my last game here at Roland Garros. That’s my situation now,” he said after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime, 21 years, in five sets.

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“That’s why I just try to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Auger-Aliassime said Nadal didn’t seem embarrassed or slowed down at all during their fourth-round thriller, which lasted nearly four and a half hours, almost twice as long as Djokovic’s straight-set victory over Diego Schwartzman , 15th seed.

Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set in four matches.

“It’s Novak,” Schwartzman said, “and if you’re not 100 percent…obviously the outcome is like that.”

As for Djokovic, his decision not to get a COVID-19 shot kept him out of the Australian Open and, although he was assured it wouldn’t be a problem at Wimbledon when he will begin on June 27, his status for the US Open is uncertain at this time.

Watch Roland-Garros on 9Gem and 9Now or every match, ad-free, live and on demand with courts in 4K, on Stan Sports.

Whether it’s stats, aesthetics, or any other metric, both are some of the best there’s ever been. On this there can be no debate.

Both have won every Grand Slam tournament at least twice. Nadal holds a men’s record 21 Slam titles, a number he reached with a breakthrough triumph at the Australian Open in January.

Djokovic, like Roger Federer, is a behind. Djokovic has all sorts of other good reasons, including more weeks at No. 1 in the ATP rankings than anyone else and the only man with at least two trophies from every Masters event. He also leads Federer and Nadal head to head.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point during the Italian Open Men’s Singles Semi-Final against Casper Ruud of Norway. (Getty)

Djokovic and Nadal have faced each other more frequently than any other male pairing in the more than half a century of professional tennis. Djokovic leads 30-28 overall; Nadal leads 19-8 on clay, including 7-2 at Roland-Garros. Nadal is 109-3 at Roland Garros, with a record 13 championships, and two of those three losses have come against Djokovic, including in the semi-finals a year ago en route to the title.

“Playing him at Roland Garros is always a physical battle,” Djokovic said, “along with everything else.”

This one is so important that it was planned for the night session, even though Nadal has made it clear that he prefers to play daytime matches on clay, and it has been made freely available to everyone in France via a streaming service under a special arrangement.

Watch Roland-Garros on 9Gem and 9Now or every match, ad-free, live and on demand with courts in 4K, on Stan Sports.

The winner will face third-seeded Alexander Zverev or sixth-seeded Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals. The other men’s quarterfinals are No. 7 Andrey Rublev against No. 20 Marin Cilic and No. 8 Casper Ruud against unranked Holger Rune.

Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard seen as the next big thing in men’s tennis, is having an important game when he sees one coming.

“If I can,” Alcaraz said of Djokovic against Nadal, “I’ll watch it.”

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