Paris [France], June 1 (ANI): Novak Djokovic after losing the French Open 2022 quarter-final match against Rafael Nadal in the wee hours of Wednesday morning applauded Spaniard's mentality in the key moments.
Nadal won the 59th installment of his legendary rivalry against Novak Djokovic, advancing to the Roland Garros semi-finals with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) victory.
"He showed why he's a great champion. You know, staying there mentally tough and finishing the match the way he did," a subdued Djokovic said during his post-match press conference.
"Congrats to him and his team. No doubt he deserved it... I lost to a better player today."
Djokovic came into the match with a 30-28 lead in his head-to-head over Nadal, but trailing the 13-time Roland-Garros champion 2-7 on his happiest hunting grounds.
"He was a better player, I think, in important moments," Djokovic said. "I was gaining momentum as I was coming back in the second set, managed to win the second set, and I thought, 'Okay, I'm back in the game'. But then he had another two, three fantastic games at the beginning of the third. He was just able to take his tennis to another level in those, particularly moments at the beginning of all sets, actually, except the fourth."
"I had my chances in the fourth. Served for the set, couple set points. Just one or two shots could have taken me into a fifth. Then it's really anybody's match," the Serbian pointed.
13-time champion Nadal advanced to a record-extending 15th Roland-Garros semi-final, where he will meet No.3 seed Alexander Zverev for a place in the final.
Djokovic, on the other hand, will get an early start to the grass-court season as he aims to put this defeat firmly behind him ahead of his next major title defence at Wimbledon. (ANI)