Rafa Roundup: Rafael Nadal ready to storm the Roland Garros’ history books


Nadal needs to capture his ninth title on Parisian clay if he is to remain at No. 1 for a 138th week. He would be the first player in tennis history to lift five straight Roland Garros crowns… On Sunday, Nadal will shoot for his 14th major trophy. If he triumphs, he will become the first player to win at least one major per season for 10 straight years.

“For me the only motivation is Roland Garros,” Nadal said. “Doesn’t matter five in a row, four or one. For me, always when I have a chance to win Roland Garros is a special thing.”

“He jugado mi mejor tenis del año en Roland Garros”, dice Nadal tras borrar a Murray de la central. “Es increíble volver a jugar la final, muy emotivo [es la novena]. Es un sueño”, añade. “Me enfrento a un rival fantástico”, cierra.

As for Nadal, he is into the 20th Grand Slam final of his career. Such is his legend here that the biggest story of this tournament will either be “Nadal wins nine” or “Nadal loses” – the name of any other winner is secondary to his defeat, which is the more remarkable given that in victory, Djokovic would complete his career Slam. History is waiting, but which player will receive destiny’s embrace remains to be seen.

It’s the 42nd overall meeting between Djokovic and Nadal, with Nadal currently leading the series 22-19. No other pair has met more often in ATP history. But they have a long way to go to set the all-time record: Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova played a whopping 80 times during their careers.

”(It’s) nothing new for him to be in the final. He has the motivation to win Roland Garros for the first time for sure,” Nadal said of Djokovic. ”But at the same time, he has the pressure to win for the first time. I have the pressure that I want to win and the motivation that I want to win the ninth.”

Nadal dominated every aspect of this match, but especially his service games. The world No. 1 won 49 of his 59 serving points, losing only four of his first-serve points, and he never faced a break point. The Spaniard won 83 total points to Murray’s 43, which is pretty incredible in a sport where the loser can actually win more points than the winner.

Nadal is seeking an unprecedented ninth French Open crown, which would also tie him with Pete Sampras in second-place at 14 majors. Federer leads with 17. Asked what he could do to prepare for a foe he knows so well, Nadal shrugged. He would relax, practice and hopefully wake up Sunday morning feeling good. “That’s the only preparation, no? It’s nothing special that you can do.”

“It was a tough day for me. It was a bad, bad day,” conceded Murray. “His forehand, especially with the conditions the way they were today, was incredibly hard to control. As soon as he was inside the court, he was hitting the ball so close to the line. He served well and I didn’t return well. Simple. “He served very close to the lines. The ball was coming through the court quicker today.”

López toma la palabra: “Empecé el 2009 con Rafa que ganamos Doha y después el 2010 que ganamos Indian Wells. Y gracias a Rafa cogí ranking de dobles. Él me echó una mano. A lo mejor si no hubiese sido por él no estaría aquí. A partir que cogí ranking, jugué con otra gente, pero nadie permanente”.




  1. Best of luck in the Final. Just show up with the same heat, intensity, killer instinct
    and game face that you showed Andy Murray in the SF! Make Novak real uncomfortable
    and off-balance so he won’t know what hit him. Don’t hit into his wheel-house. Novak might posture himself as the 8-time champ but he is not. You are! Take your time even if it takes all day! Maria took her time today when she was down and she managed to steady and pace herself to victory.

    Vamos, Rafa!!!

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