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Playing Novak a big challenge: Rafael

Paris: At the French Open, there’s just no one better than Rafael Nadal and the King of clay proved that again on Sunday, winning the title for the ninth time.

After defeating Novak Djokovic on Sunday, he said on court: “For me, playing here in Roland Garros is just unforgettable, forever.”

He went on to add: “Every moment in this match was crucial… All the points were so hard,” he said. “Playing against Novak is always a big, big challenge for me.

“This is amazing and emotional,” said Nadal, the runner-up at the Australian Open in January. “I lost the final of Australia Open this year. I had a problem with my back in the final, so it was a very hard moment. Today, tennis gave me back what it took from me in Australia”

Djokovic was upset that he could not keep the momentum going after winning the first set. “It was a great start. In the second too it could have gone to the tie-break. But I lost that service game 6-5, and then he gained momentum. I started, you know, playing quite badly… and didn’t move as well. Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set,” he said.

Novak maintained that playing Nadal at Roland Garros is always a tough prospect. “Obviously his records speak for themselves. He has won this tournament now nine times. It’s very impressive…”