Rafael Nadal praised for brilliant Wimbledon gesture after losing to Novak Djokovic
RAFAEL NADAL has been hailed for signing autographs after losing a heartbreaking Wimbledon semi-final to Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic won a five-set thriller 6-4 3-6 7-6 3-6 10-8 to book a final meeting with Kevin Anderson on Sunday.
Nadal waited for Djokovic before he left court before stopping for fans to sign autographs for waiting fans.
The gesture was hailed by Pat Cash who said: "I don't know if I would be in the mood to sign some autographs like Rafael Nadal did after a match like that. What a gent.
"When Novak locks in and starts hitting that ball so consistently, so flat, it is very difficult for a guy, even as good as Rafael Nadal, to throw some spanners in the works.
"He tried so much with slice and angles, but Novak Djokovic was just irresistible."
Rafael Nadal fell to defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-final
The clash was hailed by Boris Becker who labelled the thriller as an 'epic match'.
He said: "It doesn't get better, these two elevate each other. The one man enjoying this very much is Kevin Anderson.
"The different was a point or two. They were equaling each other in winners and made points, it was tantalising.
"Ultimately the difference was Djokoivc needed that match more. He's been gone for two years and needed that match to make this year important."
Djokovic will now have the chance to win his 13th Grand Slam title - 12 months after withdrawing from SW19 with an elbow injury.
He faces Anderson tomorrow at 2pm following his own epic five-set win over John Isner.
Novak Djokovic was downed by Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon
The emotional Serb joked: "Hopefully we can both play! It's been a roller-coaster for him in the last couple of rounds, but he had a day off and that means a lot. I wish I had one.
"It's incredible for me to be in the Wimbledon final, I am trying to digest that first.
"It's hard to pick the words, I am just going through things that flash back - the last 15 months, everything I have been through to get here, to win against the best player in the world in one of the longest matches I ever played. I am overwhelmed.
"It's very special. It really could have gone either way. It was clear very few things separated the two players.
Until the last shot I didn't know if I was going to win. I believed it, but he was very close. These kind of matches you live for and work for."