PARIS (Reuters)- Rafa Nadal understands it will be a “big challenge” for him to beat Novak Djokovic in Tuesday’s French Open quarterfinal but the 13-times winner vowed not to shy away from a fight against the world number one.
Nadal had won the French Open four years in a row before losing to eventual champion Djokovic in the semi-finals last year - just the third time he had been beaten at the claycourt major since his debut in 2005.
That was also the last of the 58 career showdowns between the pair and Djokovic has looked in peak form at this year’s tournament, having not dropped a set in his four rounds.
When asked what he needed to do to win his next match against Djokovic, Nadal said: “I don’t know 100 percent, because I didn’t have a close test against him, because my last match against him was last year here.
“I didn’t play this kind of match for the last three months, so gonna be a big challenge for me,” he said after winning a five-set thriller against Canadian ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“Probably he (Djokovic) will be confident. I know how my situation is, and I accept it well. I’m gonna fight for it.”
A well-known Real Madrid fan, Nadal had a happy night on Saturday when he attended his first Champions League final at the Stade de France in northern Paris and watched the Spanish club win their 14th European title.