Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his semi final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic - REUTERS
London (Reuters): Rafael Nadal said he was proud and had nothing to reproach himself for after losing a top-quality Wimbledon semi-final to great rival Novak Djokovic on 14 July.
The two-day, five-hour-15-minute match of breath-taking shotplay and tiny margins between two giants of modern tennis ended 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) 3-6 10-8 in Djokovic’s favour.
“Nothing to complain. I think I played a great match. I have not much more inside me. I give it my best,” the 32-year-old Spanish world number one said.“I think I did a great work. Is difficult to come back after injuries for a long time and have these kind of results, so I am proud of myself.”
Nadal, who won the French Open for the 11th time last month, spent much of 2016 out of action with a wrist injury.
He has won the Wimbledon title twice but last reached the final in 2011 and has since struggled at the All England Club with a series of losses to lower-ranked players.
It was his 52nd match against Djokovic, 31, a rivalry dating back to 2006. Serb Djokovic leads the head-to-head 27-25.
“I can say he deserve (the win), because he deserve it. In my opinion, he deserve it. I deserve it, too. Both of us deserve it,” Nadal said wearily.“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.”
Argentine Juan Martin del Potro stretched Nadal to five sets in the quarter-finals.
“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,” Nadal said.“Played great. Semi-finals, after a while without being there. Winning some great matches, especially in that quarter-finals against Del Potro. Today was another great match.”
Nadal said he regretted losing an opportunity to win another major title.“But that’s it. Nothing else. I go for holidays proud of the things that I’m doing.”