Rafael Nadal takes on Novak Djokovic in the semi-final of the French Open on Friday, and he says those ore the moments he lives for.

Nadal, 13-time Roland Garros winner, is hoping to break the men’s Grand Slam win record by securing his 21st major this year but he couldn’t have a tougher opponent trying to stop him getting to the final.

Meanwhile Djokovic will break a record himself if he wins the tournament, by becoming the first man to secure multiple wins at all four Grand Slams in the Open Era. He would also move to within one major title of both Nadal and Roger Federer with 19.

Both men have a fierce rivalry dating back 15 years, playing each other an incredible 58 times. Although Djokovic leads the overall head-to-head 29 – 28, of their 26 matches on clay, Nadal has a big lead with 19 wins to Djovokic’s seven.

The Spaniard, known as ‘king of clay,’ has an outstanding record on the Roland Garros courts, winning 105 matches and only losing 2 matches throughout his whole career there, one of which was against the Serbian.

When asked how he feels about this incredible stat, Nadal said he will reflect on that when his career is over,  but for now he’s just focused on every match.

“Of course, the numbers are just amazing. But I can’t think about that now, honestly. Let’s talk about that when I finish my career,” Nadal said in his post-match press conference after beating Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final.

The semi-final clash is a repeat of the 2020 Roland Garros final in which Nadal not only won but dominated the world number one, winning in three straight sets. But Nadal says you can never underestimate Djokovic.

“It’s always a big challenge. [The] best thing is you know that you need to play your best tennis” said Nadal.

“It’s a match that you know what you have to do if you really want to have chances to succeed and to keep going on [in] the tournament.

“That’s something that is good, because in some ways we are practising [and] we are living the sport for these moments.

“The negative thing [is that] it’s difficult because you play against one of the best players in the [sport’s] history.”

This article first appeared on Tennisbuzz and was syndicated with permission.

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