PARIS: Novak Djokovic achieved the unthinkable on Friday when he defeated Rafael Nadal after coming back from a set down in the French Open semi-final at the Philippe Chatrier court in Paris.
World number one Novak Djokovic said his win over Rafa Nadal was one of the top three matches he had played and he would remember it forever.
"Definitely the best match that I was part of at Roland Garros, and top three matches that I ever played in my entire career," Djokovic told reporters after inflicting only a third ever French Open defeat on 13-time champion Nadal.
"Considering the quality of tennis, playing my biggest rival on the court where he has had so much success and has been the dominant force in the last 15-plus years, and the atmosphere which was completely electric.
"One of these nights and matches you will remember forever."
The omens did not look good for Djokovic when he went 5-0 down in the first set despite playing well. It had horrible similarities to last year's final which he lost to the Spaniard 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, only this time he wrenched back control.
"The beginning of the match was kind of resembling last year's final," Djokovic, who enjoyed loud support throughout the four-hour contest, said.
"I was not too nervous though even if I was 0-5 down because the feeling was different from last year's final, because I was just hitting the ball better and feeling better overall.
"I just kind of found my rhythm, found my groove. There was no looking back. Even though I lost the first set, I found my game. Things started to work out really nicely."
Even for a man of Djokovic's physical and mental resources, the emotions of Friday's win might leave a hangover and he will be fully aware that the last time he beat Nadal at the French Open in 2015, he ended up losing the final to Stan Wawrinka.
"I'm not the freshest guy right now obviously. But the good thing is that I have a day and a half to rejuvenate," he said. "I'll enjoy this victory a little bit. I think I deserve after this big win to just relax a little bit without thinking about the next opponent, even though it's a Grand Slam final." IANS