First In 18 Years: No Djokovic Or Nadal In Italian Open Final After Serb's Exit

First In 18 Years: No Djokovic Or Nadal In Italian Open Final After Serb's Exit

by Alfredo Bassanelli

Novak Djokovic's loss to Holger Rune at the Italian Open ensures that the final in Rome will be the first in 18 years without either him or Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have defined modern tennis history in countless ways. They quite literally defined the history of the Italian Open in the past 18 years by ensuring that at least one of them is in the final of the ATP 1000 event in Rome since 2004.

The first time one of them stood in the final at the Foro Italico complex was in 2005 and it was Nadal who beat Coria in the final. He would win the event in the next two years as well with Novak Djokovic getting his first one in 2008.

The following year saw the first final with both of them in it and it was Nadal winning. We would see the same final four more times however each of the following finals featured either Nadal or Djokovic in the final. In an unlikely scenario, we saw two players dominate the event for a length of 18 years with each final featuring either one and sometimes both of them.

This year will be the first year neither of them will be in the final as Nadal is injured and could even miss the Roland Garros, and Djokovic lost to Holger Rune. It ended an era for them at the Italian Open and perhaps symbolically foreshadowed the real end of an era.

Both Nadal and Djokovic have struggled with injuries this year with neither in great shape ahead of Roland Garros. Nadal might not even be there as he will announce his decision on Thursday with a press conference in Mallorca.

Time will tell whether the 2021 final was the last one we'll see of the Djokovic - Nadal Rome finals but for now, it certainly seems that way. If it truly was the last one, then it was one hell of a run for both.


You may also like