Tennis fans lash out over Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal 'disgrace'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, pictured here in action at the French Open.
Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will do battle in the French Open quarter-finals. Image: Getty

Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic will do battle for the 59th time in their storied careers at the French Open on Tuesday, however fans have expressed their sadness that the blockbuster clash is only a quarter-final.

The tennis titans - who have a combined 41 grand slam titles - will do battle in Tuesday's night session at Roland Garros with a place in the semi-finals on the line.

BRUTAL TRUTH: John McEnroe's message amid Djokovic 'disgrace'

SEXISM STORM: French Open caught in ugly scheduling controversy

While fans are frothing about the prospect of seeing the tennis legends face off again, many have been left disappointed that the showdown won't be in the final.

In a quirk of the draw, Djokovic and Nadal were inadvertently placed in the same quarter - meaning they could only face each other in the last 8 and no later.

In years gone past when Djokovic and Nadal were perennially in the top 3 of the rankings, they would never meet earlier than the semis or final at grand slams.

But Nadal has slipped down to World No.5 after a string of recent injuries, resulting in the unwanted quarter-final clash.

On the same side of the draw, World No.3 Alexander Zverev will play World No.6 Carlos Alcaraz in the quarters.

The other side of the draw sees World No.6 Casper Ruud play unseeded youngster Holger Rune, while World No.7 Andrey Rublev will face 20th seed Marin Cilic.

Is it a shame Tuesday night's match is 'only' a quarter-final, instead of something with more at stake? Yes

But will that dissuade anyone from watching or dull the atmosphere that will undoubtedly envelop Court Philippe Chatrier? Probably not.

Nevertheless, fans have taken aim at the quirky twist on social media, with some labelling it a "joke" and "disgrace".

Nadal and Djokovic to do battle for last time?

The uncomfortable reality about Tuesday's showdown is that we might very well be seeing Nadal and Djokovic do battle for the last time.

Nadal turns 36 on Friday, while Djokovic turned 35 on May 22 - the first day of the French Open.

Nadal has been struggling with a number of injury issues and seemed to suggest he is on his last legs on Sunday.

"I don't know what can happen in the near future with my career," he said.

The 21-time major champion missed the second half of last season, including Wimbledon and the US Open, because of chronic pain in his left foot that flared up again in recent weeks.

After a 20-0 start to 2022, he missed three tournaments because of a rib injury.

Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, pictured here after their semi-final clash at the French Open in 2021.
Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal after their semi-final clash at the French Open in 2021. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

"I can't complain much," he said, noting that two and a half weeks ago he had no idea whether he'd make it this far.

"Being honest, every match that I play here, I don't know if it's going to be my last match here in Roland Garros. That's my situation now.

"That's why I am just trying to enjoy as much as possible."

Djokovic and Nadal have played each other more times than any other pair of men since the Open era began in 1968.

Djokovic leads 30-28 overall, but Nadal leads 19-8 on clay - including 7-2 at Roland Garros.

Nadal is 109-3 at the French Open with a record 13 titles.

However two of those three losses came against Djokovic, including in the semi-finals a year ago en route to the title.

"Playing him in Roland Garros is always a physical battle," Djokovic said, "along with everything else."

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting