World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who clashed with Rafael Nadal after his victory over Matteo Beretini, said he was under pressure throughout the quarter-finals, winning the fourth set to reach the semi-finals of the Grand Slam single for the 40- th time.
“This match had everything: falls, crowds, rest. It was very intense. I just felt under pressure all the time,” Djokovic said after the match.
“It was just great, super stressful to be under constant pressure on my service games because his service games were pretty smooth with the great service. The reaction in the end was just me to release the tension that was building up throughout the game,” added world number one. .
The Serbian tennis star has said he is pleased with the type of tennis he plays and believes he is capable of beating Nadal in his own lair.
“The quality and level of tennis I’ve played in the last three or four weeks of clay – Rome, Belgrade and here – give me good feelings and emotions before this game. I’m sure. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let me be here. we have a great battle “, added Djokovic and called the semi-final clash with Nadal as the biggest challenge that anyone can face on a tennis court.
Nadal, who is battling for a record 21st Grand Slam title, has won the French Open 13 times and was in form as usual at Roland Garros.
“It’s not like any other game. Let’s face it, it’s the biggest challenge you can have: a game of clay against Nadal, on this court where he has had so much success in his career, in the last stages of the Grand Slam. It is not getting bigger than that, “Djokovic said before the semi-final match with Nadal on Friday.
“Of course, every time we face each other, there is additional tension and expectations. [The] the vibrations are different walking the court with it. But that’s why our rivalry is historical, I think, for this sport. I have had the privilege of playing it so many times.
“[My] rivalry with him and Roger [Federer] they made me a stronger player, allowed me to figure out how to improve my game to get to the level they were when I started playing professional tennis. I will probably choose Rafa as the biggest opponent I have ever had in my career.
“The expectation of a match against him – every match, every surface, every occasion – is always different from every other.”