World number one Novak Djokovic said Monday that he was disappointed at losing his chance to make history after being defeated by Rafael Nadal at the French Open, but admitted that the better man won.
"The better player won today, so congratulations for that," Djokovic said, refusing to blame rain and the decision by tournament officials to delay the match a second time late Sunday, which he said helped Nadal recover his form.
World number two Nadal clinched a record seventh French Open title, defeating Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 and shattering the Serb's dream of achieving Grand Slam history as well.
For five-time major winner Djokovic, the reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion, it was the end of his dream of emulating Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) by holding all the Grand Slams at once.
"He is definitely the best player in history on this surface, and results are showing that he is one of the best players that ever played this game, and he is only 26 years old," Djokovic said.
"Hopefully we can have many more battles," the 25-year-old Serb added.
Making history "was not the primary thought in my mind" and "the disappointment is there because I lost the match".
Djokovic had been on top when play was halted for a second and last time on Sunday when he had clawed back a set and led 2-1 with a break in the fourth.
"Playing conditions were not good. But it's not anybody's fault, and it's not the reason why I lost today," he admitted.