Rafa Roundup: 9th French, 14th major for Nadal; no career Slam for Djokovic


This may not have been the best match in what has already become the best rivalry in the history of the Open era. It was the 42nd meeting between the men, and Nadal leads 23-19. He won today despite losing to Djokovic the last four times they’ve met—but Nadal has now won their last four Grand Slam meetings, as well as each of their six clashes at Roland Garros.

Nadal has a 66-1 record at Roland Garros, where he is 35-matches unbeaten. His only loss on Parisian clay came against Robin Soderling in the 2009 fourth round. The Mallorcan has a 90-1 win-loss record in best-of-five-set matches on clay courts. He has now won 64 tour-level titles – 45 of which have come on clay courts – and is only two red dirt titles behind all-time leader Guillermo Vilas (46).

Victory is cruel, and victory is glorious. The champion supreme sank to his knees on the baseline. Today more than any other, he is on Cloud Nine.

The Mallorcan now travels to the Gerry Weber Open in Halle to begin his grass-court campaign, during which he will look to win a third Wimbledon crown. Nadal completed the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double in 2008 and 2010.

Until Sunday, Djokovic was 35-0 in finals in which he won the opening set, but no lead (or statistic) can truly be safe against Nadal on clay, even when he is missing backhands and forehands by the bunches in the early stages.

“The Spaniard is just 67 days older than Roger Federer was when he won his 14th Grand Slam title: his claim last week that a generation is walking away now looks exceedingly premature.”

Sitting down to type the words “Rafael Nadal has won his ninth title at Roland Garros in the past 10 years” is something quite surreal. But it is true.

That’s what makes Nadal Nadal. He was so good as a teenager that he was picked as a favorite to win the French Open the first time he ever played (he did, at age 19). But no one could have predicted then what has happened since. His uncle described it as “unbelievable,” yet he wasn’t willing to say there could never be another Nadal. “I am sure that another can do the same,” he said. “Rafael is not special.” Toni Nadal isn’t wrong about much when it comes to tennis. This time, he is.

“You are a great champion, Rafa,” Sampras said in an email sent to CNN. “Congratulations on number 14.”

“I want to try to play well again in Wimbledon,” he said. “I’m healthy. That’s the most important thing.”

Rafael Nadal is a fount of quirks, rituals and idiosyncrasies. While they may look like superstitious peculiarities to an outsider, Nadal insists they’re mechanisms to help him focus on tennis. Here’s a definitive list of Nadal’s 19 tennis tics.

What more can be said about Rafael Nadal? Putting the IX in Prix, he wins his ninth French Open singles title and inches ever close to the summit of Mount Roger Federer and his 17 Grand Slam titles.

That’s the beauty of the current men’s game. Every Grand Slam rewrites the history books. On Sunday in Paris, Rafael Nadal added some more to his chapter.

Nadal’s tears came again with the first notes of the Spanish national anthem. During his on-court speech, he said this: “Days like today, all the things I did to be here were more than (worth it).”




  1. Congratulations Rafa!!! So So happy that you madeit – you just cannot imagine! I hope you now have the confidence to play fantastically all through the year and may you also remain healthy. Love you!

  2. Congratulations Rafa never doubted you for one minuite .Looking forward to seeing you at Wimbledon when I am praying that it will be another Grand Slam for the nicest Guy in the Tennis World You deserve all the accolaides that come your way God bless you and keep you well xx

  3. No words can describe how happy I am for rafa nadal he deserves all this and more. His amazing attitude and his winning tennis melts the heart of me every time. Sooo so happy for you once again and your team. C you in grass season xxxxxx

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