Two more days before the start of Roland Garros and rises, rises, our appetite for ocher. Sunday will begin the new edition of the Internationaux de France, marked by the notorious absence of the master of the place, the Spaniard Rafael Nadalfourteen times winner of the tournament, one of the most resounding feats “in the entire history of sport”, as Guy Forget reminds us in a documentary posted online this Friday on Prime Video, the streaming platform which will broadcast the flagship matches. fortnight in the evening.
A documentary that zooms in on the extraordinary rivalry opposing for more than fifteen years in Paris the legend born in Majorca (Spain) to another tennis monster, originally from the Balkans. “Nadal/Djokovic, duel at Roland-Garros” goes back in time and dissects in an instructive and fascinating way the nine clashes between the two men at Porte d’Auteuil.
Baby faces in 2006
And it starts in 2006 with images showing us the two champions with still baby faces. We discover the young Djoko, unknown, barely 19 years old, splitting the pear in the locker room, scribbling with a marker, with the smile of the kid who does a good mistake, the mention “Vamos Nole” (his nickname) on the back of his shoes. And this while his Spanish opponent, 20 years old and already defending champion at Roland-Garros, is playing with custom-made pairs embroidered in his name.
Another striking scene sets the tone. That of the post-match press conference on June 7 when, after having abandoned following the loss of the first two sets, Novak Djokovic affirms that he could have won this quarter-final. Arrogance or… clairvoyance?
The documentary, embellished with interviews with numerous tennis players (Gustavo Kuerten, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga…), journalists and coaches, manages to highlight the Serbian’s fierce fight to catch up on his illustrious elder. A tennis delay, first. Popularity, then. With extraordinary relentlessness further multiplied in 2013 by the death of the first coach to have given him confidence, Jelena Gencic.
That year, the quest for a title in Paris became his way of drying his tears. An epic that will end with a legendary semi-final finally won by Nadal after a thrilling fifth set. Tears, Djoko will also shed in 2015 despite a victory over his eternal rival in the quarters.
Shocks, there will be others between these two, of which we discover in parallel the disjointed trajectories since childhood. In 2021, in particular, in a world still immersed in the health crisis, Djoko and Nadal will do very hard: postpone the hours of the curfew still in force so that the public can witness the end of their Homeric meeting!
” Nadal / Djokovic, duel at Roland-Garros », documentary directed by Céline Jallet, Julie Robert and Antoine Benneteau. On Amazon Prime Video. 1h02.