Rafael Nadal faced his Serbian rival Novak Djokovic in the finals of the 2012 French Open and took revenge for his Australian Open loss.
The hype surrounding this match was something else. These two had been dueling each other for the number 1 spot all season. While Novak had taken advantage in Australia and was also the first-seeded player coming into the French Open, Nadal was waiting for his chance to topple the Serbian on his favorite court.
Both had been dominating their opponents, en route to the finals. Novak had walked past Roger Federer in the semis, beating him in straight sets. On the other hand, Nadal defeated his compatriot David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 to seal a finals replay of the Australian Open.
This was possibly Nadal’s sweetest chance to redemption. He had lost to Novak in the finals of all three other Grand Slams before but had the advantage on Clay. What followed was a moment of history. The Spaniard defeated the then, Australian Open champion in four sets and over two days scoring 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 to claim his seventh title at Rolan Garros. That made him the record holder for the most number of French Open titles for a Men’s Singles player.
In the post-match presentation speech, the seven-time French Open champion addressed his final win over Novak after the brutal loss he had suffered in Melbourne.
“In Australia everything was good for me, yet I lost, So I deserved such a match after this defeat in Australia.”
“When you lose, it’s because you don’t deserve the title, So in my mind, this was the final I had to win. That’s why I was so emotional,” said an emotional Nadal in his speech.
Earlier, he had also mentioned that losing to the same opponent seven times was an instrumental motivational factor that pushed him through.
“When you lose seven times, that stays in your mind, no?”
Rafael Nadal stays ready for a comeback at the Roland Garros 2024
After re-injuring himself at the Brisbane International, Rafael Nadal announced an early exit from Australia but assured his fans that it is not much to worry about and that he’ll be back playing soon.
Addressing his injury and retirement from this year’s Australian Open, Nadal said that there was positive news from his injury reports. He affirmed the idea of an early return.
“I have worked very hard during the year for this comeback and as I always mentioned my goal is to be at my best level in 3 months. Within the sad news for me for not being able to play in front of the amazing Melbourne crowds, this is not very bad news and we all remain positive with the evolution for the season.”
“I really wanted to play here in Australia and I have had the chance to play a few matches that made me very happy and positive,” said Nadal.