After last year’s tournament was cancelled, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, it won’t be long before fans flock to Murray Mound for all things British – strawberries and cream, rainy weather and of course, tennis at the All England Club – Wimbledon.
With the French Open currently underway, there’s no doubting that results at Roland Garros will impact the Wimbledon odds 2021. The current reigning champion of the men’s singles is Serbian, Novak Djokovic – who has won five Wimbledon Slams over the years, including back-to-back titles in the last two tournaments.
Djokovic has a long-standing rivalry with Spanish star, Rafael Nadal. The two men’s singles champions have 38 Grand Slam titles between them – and Nadal is level with Roger Federer for holding the record for the most titles, with a total of 20.
As we gear up to another thrilling summer of sport, let’s take a look back at Djokovic and Nadal’s head-to-head at SW19.
Believe it or not, Djokovic and Nadal have only ever met once in a Wimbledon final. It was Djokovic’s first final, while Nadal had already competed in four prior to their 2011 meeting – with a 50%-win record.
Nadal was the defending champion, having beaten the Czech, Tomáš Berdych, in 2010. But in losing the final, Nadal ended his 20-match Wimbledon winning streak – which dated back to 2008.
In winning, Djokovic usurped the Spaniard at the top of the world ranking – and he has since, boasted an impeccable record at Wimbledon finals, winning five of his six matches, and of course, was victorious in both 2018 and 2019.
The opening set was a tight affair, but Djokovic managed to open up his opponent, and the usually faultless Nadal went on to make a number of errors, clearly rattled. The Serbian, clearly buoyant and possibly, too confident went on slip-up in the third set, allowing Nadal back in to the match – but it was nothing more than a lifeline.
Djokovic came through to win: 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
In 2007, Nadal was the second seed, and Djokovic was the fourth. The two met in the semi-final, with the other being contested between Federer and Richard Gasquet.
Unfortunately, for Nole, he was forced to retire from the match, due to a foot injury. After winning the first set 6-3, he was on the losing end of a 6-1 demolition in the second set. And the Serbian who didn’t look fully fit all week, during the Slam, had to pull out in the third set, which he was losing 4-1.
On withdrawing, Djokovic said:
“It’s a very disappointing way to finish the biggest tournament, for me, but I had to retire because I wanted to avoid forcing the injury and making it worse,”
Nadal went on to lose to Roger Federer in what was a repeat of the 2006 men’s singles final.
As recently as 2018, Nole and Rafa met once again at the semi-final stage – in what proved to be a thrilling five-set encounter. It was an epic battle, which lasted two days, with play being ended at 23:02 on the Friday night – with the Serbian leading by two sets to one.
Play resumed on the Saturday, with Nadal breaking twice in the fourth set, but Djokovic hit back to set up a dramatic deciding set. And it went in favour of the Serb, who won: 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11-9), 3-6, 10-8 in a pulsating semi-final which lasted five hours and 16 minutes.
Nole faced Kevin Anderson, who overcame John Isner in an equally as exciting battle – and won his fourth Wimbledon title.
It’s 2-1 in Djokovic’s favour. How will the 2021 tournament pan out?