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Novak Djokovic “climbs Mount Everest” to topple Rafael Nadal in Paris

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Novak Djokovic praised his defeated Roland Garros opponent Rafael Nadal, saying dethroning the clay king was like conquering his own tennis Everest.

As the world of tennis and beyond – even Cher tweeted his admiration – reacted to one of the game’s all-time classic matches in the Roland Garros semi-final on Friday, Djokovic was quick to to pay homage to the defeated 13 times champion in Paris.

“It’s hard to find words bigger than all the superlatives you can think of for Rafa’s exploits at Roland Garros,” said the world No.1 after his incredible 3-6 6-3 7-6 victory ( 7-4) 6-2 cut out over nearly four and a quarter hours breathtaking.

“Definitely the best match I’ve played at Roland Garros and one of the three best matches I’ve played in my entire career, considering the quality, playing my biggest rival on the pitch where he had so successful and has been the dominant force in the past 15+ years.

“The number of victories he has made on this court (Philippe Chatrier) is incredible. Every time you step onto the pitch with him you know you kind of have to climb Mount Everest to win against this guy here.

“I mean, he’s been the most dominant player in Roland Garros history. He’s lost two – now three times – in his entire career. He’s been playing here for almost 20 years. That achievement speaks for itself. -even.

“I have only won once in our eight matches that we played at Chatrier. It’s a game that I will always remember.

Novak Djokovic greets Rafael Nadal. (Photo by John Berry / Getty Images)

Djokovic said he tried to draw “positives and clues” from when he was the last man to beat Nadal at Roland Garros in the quarter-finals six years ago. “Which has worked very well,” he added.

Luminaries throughout the game praised the contest, with Chris Evert believing that if you were to give it a movie title, it would have to be “the greatest game ever played.”

Andy Murray enthused on Twitter: “You can’t play better tennis on clay than this. It’s perfect.”

Former three-time French champion Mats Wilander said the pair “are not human” at Eurosport, saying he had never seen a better match on clay.

German star Mischa Zverev, brother of semi-finalist Alexander Zverev, said they had played “on a level that comes from another planet”.

He added: “Sometimes it felt like they were playing a computer game because no matter where they hit the ball, (a) it lands and (b) the other guy is already there and it seems impossible. that they can make winners, but they still do.

The last word went to a breathless Cher.

“There is no doubt, Djokovic is a major machine,” the singer tweeted. “Rafa take your heart.”




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