With the two semifinal fixtures of French Open 2020 scheduled on Friday, October 9, Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman will face off at the Philippe Chatrier court before Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic lock horns at the same court.
While Nadal is a 12-time French Open winner, the Spaniard recently faced defeat at the hands of Diego Schwartzman, his opponent today, at the Italian Open. The defeat on September 20 might still be fresh but this is Roland Garros, wherein Nadal is the one true King.
In fact, given the legendary Tennis player’s history at the Philippe Chatrier, coach Carlos Moya is confident that Nadal will trump the Argentine this time around. The last time the two met at RG was in the quarterfinals of the 2018 edition of the French Open and Nadal had crushed Schwartzman in four sets.
"Rafa is Rafa, this is Roland Garros and Philippe Chatrier, there's history and we must continue it," said Moya, former World No.1, who won the French Open in 2018.
"He's a player we respect a lot [speaking of Schwartzman], despite always beating him until Rome. He's always been an uncomfortable opponent. Now he has made a leap mentally, before he had a hard time facing difficult moments against Rafa. Perhaps now he won't hesitate as much as before."
While Nadal is eyeing for his 20th Grand Slam win, Schwartzman could well be the deadly thorn in his way full of roses.
"Rafa didn't handle the problems well there and Schwartzman took advantage of it. It's what happens with opponents of this calibre, if you don't play well and he does, you lose for sure," said Moya.
"The main thing is to play a good match. Then you can apply one plan or another. We know what we want to do but we will see if Schwartzman allows it to be put into practice.”
World No.2 and defending champion at RG 2020 Rafael Nadal has himself admitted that this French Open conditions could be the most challenging he’s been a part of, due to colder conditions and lower bounces.
"There's nothing that can be done about it. He's trying to play more aggressively, more direct than in other clay tournaments," Moya spoke of Rafa.