Novak Djokovic Edges Rafael Nadal to Reach Wimbledon Final Against Kevin Anderson
(July 14, 2018) In a match carried over from Friday, Novak Djokovic defeated No. 1 player Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9), 3-6, 10-8 to reach his fifth final at the All-England Club. The Serb, who is seeded 12th will be seeking his fourth Wimbledon crown on Sunday against surprise finalist No. 8 Kevin Anderson, who upset top seed Roger Federer in the quarterfinals and beat John Isner in a five-set match which lasted 6 and ½ hours on Friday.
“He’s probably the greatest fighter ever to play this game,” Djokovic said of Nadal. “I mean, he battles every single point like it’s his last. That’s something that is so impressive with Rafa. That’s what makes him so difficult to beat on any surface.
“You coming into the match against him, knowing that you have to earn your points, is already an energy-spending moment. So you have to be ready for it, obviously. That’s why you put in X amount of hours on the practice court, preparation, trying to be as professional as you can, because you need to compete with a guy like Nadal. He does the same.
“If you want to be able to compete on such a high level, eventually get a win against him in the big tournaments, then you have to give it all you got.”
This will be Djokovic’s first major final since the 2016 US Open final when he lost to Stan Wawrinka. Since then it’s been a hard road for Djokovic, dealing with injuries and trying to regain his confidence back.
“Yes, there were moments of doubt, of frustration, disappointment, where you’re questioning whether you want to keep it going in this way or that way, where is that taking you. Everybody goes through that process of thinking,” Djokovic said to media. “I don’t know anybody that is managing always to stay positive, to always 100% have self-belief, confidence. It’s life. We humans, we go through that.
“Obviously the entire process, speaking from this position right now, it makes it even better for me, makes it even more special because I managed to overcome challenges and obstacles, get myself to the finals of a slam. Obviously if you told me that six months ago, I would take it right away.
“But did I truly believe that I can get back on the level? Yes, I mean, it’s hard for me to play tennis and not believe that I can be the best in what I do. I mean, I’ve been fortunate to achieve so much in my career that every time I go to the tournament, I have highest of ambitions.”
“Have been a great match,” said Nadal. “I think a fantastic level of tennis for both of us. I think I was not a spectator, but I think was a great show for the fans.
“Of course, not happy with the final result. Of course, happy about being part of this match that have been a great one.”
“I can say he deserve it, because he deserve it.,” Nadal added. “In my opinion, he deserve it. I deserve it, too. Both of us deserve it. As I say the other day against del Potro, anyone could win. Today I say the same. The other day was for me, today was for him. That’s it.”
“I hit a great shots,” said Nadal. “I played aggressive. I missed balls, not too many, but I missed some ones. When you play with that intensity, with that level of risk, that level of passion, sometimes you go over, no?
“Nothing to complain. I think I played a great match. I have not much more inside me. I give it my best, and that’s it. It’s fair to say that was a great match and he beat me. Well done for him. That’s all. That’s sport.
“These kind of matches between probably two great players, playing so well both of us, anything could happen. That’s it. Today was for him. Well done.”
Before the resumption of the match, which took place before the women’s final, there was some controversy that the roof would be closed to replicate the conditions from Friday, when the roof was closed due to darkness.
Asked is it made sense to close the roof for the match, Nadal said to a reporter: “No. But I will not talk more about this. If not, you going to write about this, and I don’t want you to write about this today.”
When Djokvic was questioned about this, he said: “The tournament organizers and referees said that the roof has to be closed because we started the match with the roof closed.”
“They told us we had to play under the roof.”
Djokovic will now play in his fifth Wimbledon final, seeking his fourth title and 13th major title on Sunday.
He was asked about playing Kevin Anderson: “Well, I mean, considering he’s playing only his second Grand Slam final, obviously he has a lot more to gain. If I take my last couple years, I don’t have much to lose myself. I’m, again, in a Grand Slam finals after a long time, after actually almost two years.
“Of course, we want this trophy. We want this match, both of us. Who is going to take it? I don’t know. It really depends.”
Djokovic is 5-1 against the South African, who is making his second major final appearance.
More to follow….