Rafael Nadal equals Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slams with demolition job over Novak Djokovic


Rafael Nadal drew level with Roger Federer on twenty Grand Slam titles after an extraordinary demolition of Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros.

You can move the tournament to October from late Spring, but there is no changing the inevitability of the result.

He won his 13th Paris championship in his 100th match there, dismissing the world number one 6-0 7-2 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes of often breathtaking shotmaking.

Rafael Nadal has equalled Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam wins with a dominating victory over Novak Djokovic

The Spanish star powered his way to his 13th French Open title in emphatic fashion, sweeping aside the Serb in straight sets

Djokovic’s attempts to play chess with his dropshots backfired and his surfeit of unforced errors when faced with a trademark onslaught sealed his undoing. It was nothing like the equal battle expected.

Early afternoon rain meant that the roof was closed for the first ever indoor Roland Garros final. It was widely believed that the bounce-deadening effect of this would aid the world number one but how wrong we were.

The first set will go down as the best, and one of the longest, in history that has ended in a 6-0 scoreline.

Nadal was relentless in keeping the ball in play, chasing down everything Djokovic had to offer to storm to a two-set lead

Nadal was relentless in keeping the ball in play, chasing down everything Djokovic had to offer to storm to a two-set lead

The World No 1's attempts to play chess with Nadal backfired as his drop shots were easily read by the inspired Spaniard

The World No 1’s attempts to play chess with Nadal backfired as his drop shots were easily read by the inspired Spaniard

It took 45 minutes and began with Djokovic attempting four dropshots in the first game, only two of which were successful. The first four games lasted 32 minutes and was full of breathtaking rallies, the crucial difference between them being that Nadal was winning all the big points.

The Serb did not help himself by struggling with his first serve but it was still anything but the wipeout that the scoreboard suggested.

Djokovic looked shellshocked by the end but regrouped to get off the mark after 55 minutes, only to go another break down. Notably the Spaniard was winning all the shorter rallies and recovering from most of his opponent’s attempts to drag him to the net, where he plays brilliantly anyway.

Djokovic attempted to muster a fightback in the third set as he clawed back to 5-5 as the crowd looked to rouse the World No 1

Djokovic attempted to muster a fightback in the third set as he clawed back to 5-5 as the crowd looked to rouse the World No 1

But Nadal was in no mood to let his lead slip as the Spaniard powered home, winning 7-5 in the third to seal an historic victory

But Nadal was in no mood to let his lead slip as the Spaniard powered home, winning 7-5 in the third to seal an historic victory

He went ahead for 4-1, still making mincemeat of the dropshots from his opponent. The ball would only marginally sit up and be met with an extraordinary flick after Nadal sprinted in – a remarkable feat of hand-eye coordination.

Djokovic was being forced to overpress in search of winners. While he was winning some points that way the unforced errors were also racking up. By the time he went two sets behind this was starting to look like the 2008 final when Nadal allowed Federer only four games in total.

When he lamely surrendered a break at 2-2 in the third the end looked nigh, only for Nadal’s level to drop in the next game and allow him to level straightaway.

The Serb definitely sensed he was back in it, but then at 5-5 and 30-30 he hit a forehand marginally long and then double faulted down the ‘T’. With no Hawkeye to appeal to on the clay the mark, inspected by umpire Damien Dumusois, showed the ball to be out but he would have liked a referral.

He gave up the last game lamely, ushering Nadal to the title.  

Nadal said he has enjoyed his best moments at Roland Garros and sent a message of positivity amid the covid pandemic

Nadal said he has enjoyed his best moments at Roland Garros and sent a message of positivity amid the covid pandemic

The Spaniard does his traditional bite of the trophy after making it an astonishing 13 French Open triumphs on Sunday

The Spaniard does his traditional bite of the trophy after making it an astonishing 13 French Open triumphs on Sunday

‘Congrats to Novak for another great tournament. Sorry for today,’ he said.

‘In Australia, he killed me a couple of times ago. Today it was me. It’s part of the game, we have played plenty of times. One day one person wins, the next day the other. All the best for the future, Novak.

‘It has been a very tough year but to win here means everything to me,’ said Nadal. ‘It’s not the moment for me to think about the 20th equalling Roger, for me today is a Roland Garros victory. Roland Garros means everything to me, I have spent the most important moments of my career here.’

The mammoth final was played out in front of a smattering of fans at the brand new Philippe Chartier court in Paris

‘I want to send a message to everyone around the world: we are facing one of the worst moments we remember in this world, fighting against this virus. Just keep going, stay positive and all the very best. Together we will go through this and be victorious soon.’ 

‘It was a very tough match for me today,’ a deflated Djokovic said. ‘I’m not so pleased with the way I played today. I was outplayed by a better player on the court. It has been a fantastic couple of weeks. 

‘This situation is difficult but we have the possibility to play the sport we love and I’m very grateful to those who allowed us to play.’ 

Re-live all the action as it happened in Paris right here with Sportsmail’s KIERAN JACKSON and OLLIE LEWIS. 

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