Djokovic needs no excuse for losing to ‘perfect’ Nadal

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Rafael Nadal was "just better" than Novak Djokovic in the French Open final, with the beaten man unable to match his level.

Novak Djokovic insists he had no fitness complaints during the French Open final and simply lost to a “perfect” performance from Rafael Nadal.

World number one Djokovic lost a completed match for the first time this year as he remarkably went down 6-0 6-2 7-5.

Nadal dominated Sunday’s match to claim his 13th Roland-Garros title and 20th grand slam championship in total, equalling Roger Federer’s record.

Djokovic had been battling neck and shoulder issues in the quarter-finals earlier in the week, wearing tape, repeatedly stretching out his left arm and also receiving treatment as he beat Pablo Carreno Busta.

Djokovic: “I will absolutely not find any other justification for this loss”

The Serbian had no desire to look for excuses against Nadal, though, and instead paid tribute to his opponent.

“No, no, I was fine. Everything was okay,” Djokovic told a news conference. “I was ready for this match. It’s just that I was outplayed. I was beaten by a guy who was just perfect today – especially the first two sets. That’s all there is to it.

“I will absolutely not find any other justification for this loss. He was just better. Straight-sets victory, yeah. It’s a grand slam final, but playing Rafa on clay, you play Rafa, who is playing the way he’s playing, it’s tough to get a set off him. I thought third set was a chance, but I just didn’t use it.”

Djokovic: “He did surprise me with the way he was playing”

Despite Nadal’s incredible record at the French Open, where he has not lost in more than five years, Djokovic admits he was surprised by his standard.

“I felt well throughout the entire tournament. I thought I was in a great form,” he said. “Certainly I could have played better, especially in the first two sets. But he did surprise me with the way he was playing, the quality of tennis he was producing, the level. He’s phenomenal.”

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