Roger Federer set to play ‘special’ final match of career on Friday with Rafael Nadal
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Novak Djokovic reacts after dropping a set to Rafael Nadal in a match earlier this year.
Updated at 2:25 PM EDT on Wednesday, Sep 19, 2009
The final match on the schedule for Novak Djokovic Tuesday is no ordinary one.
It’s the one that’s so special he can only play it once before heading off to meet his hero and face his last challenge as he hits the mandatory retirement age of 37, when the chance to play for his beloved Serbia becomes impossible.
But if Djokovic plays “special” on Friday, against No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal in the second round of the French Open, don’t expect the match to be his last.
“I definitely won’t retire in the French Open,” Djokovic said Wednesday after a week of practice. “My plan is to play my last match in Paris, in the second round against Nadal.”
When Djokovic drops a set to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of last year’s French Open, you can bet Djokovic will start plotting his exit strategy.
How Djokovic could end career in Paris
In truth, Djokovic has already started thinking about the future. He’s scheduled to play the final in Paris against Andy Roddick to close the year, but he’s already talked about how he’ll exit the French Open.
“It has probably been the third or fourth time during this year’s season when I’ve thought about my final match. The first time was at Wimbledon and that match was against Milos Raonic. It was a semifinal, but I wasn’t really focused on that match. The second time was here, and the last time was against Sam Querrey.”
Djokovic, who won two titles at Roland Garros, had never failed to qualify for the French Open since 1990.