Monday, June 12, 2017

La Decima! Nadal wins French Open title #10!

La Decima. Champ10n. Perfect 10. As many have said, it's near-impossible to describe with words just how significant this achievement is but Rafael Nadal just did the unimaginable by winning the French Open for the 10th time. Vamos Rafa!

This achievement is staggering on so many levels. No other player in the Open Era has won a major tournament 10 times. The only other player - male or female - to win a major tournament more times in history is Margaret Court who won the Australian Open 11 times, but 7 of those were won when tennis was open only to amateur players and not to professionals. As if that wasn't enough,  if we go beyond the majors, no other male player has won the same event 10 times. Nadal has now achieved this feat in three different tournaments: Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and now the French Open.

A few more amazing figures:
  • This is Nadal's 15th Grand Slam singles title, moving him past Pete Sampras who has 14. The only male player with more majors is Roger Federer who has 18.
  • Nadal has an incredible 79-2 win-loss record in Roland Garros.
  • He lost a measly 35 games in all 7 matches he played, the second least number of games lost in a major event. (Bjorn Borg holds that record when he dropped only 32 games when he won in 1978.) He didn't lost more than four games in any set he played. That is just utter dominance.
  • This is the third time that Rafa Nadal won a Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set. He also achieved this feat in 2008 and 2010.
  • Rafa has now won a Grand Slam title in his teens, his 20s, and his 30s (he turned 31 during the first week of Roland Garros.). Talk about longevity.
  • He now moves up to #2 in the ATP Rankings.
  • He also  adds on to the lead he has in the ATP Singles Race, amassing more points in 2017 than any other player so far. If he maintains his level of play, he may just return to the top of the Tennis world before the year ends.

Click here for more impressive French Open stats.

Nadal's fantastic results over the previous months made me very hopeful that he would take home another French Open title and the way he played the first six rounds made me even more optimistic. However, Stan Wawrinka has become a giant-killer in majors in recent years and his 3-0 record in Grand Slam finals had me very worried. Thankfully, it was Nadal's own undefeated streak in French Open finals that proved to be stronger as he finally dealt Wawrinka his first loss in a Grand Slam championship match. Nadal has now won all French Open finals he's contested.


The awarding ceremony was made more special by the fact that his coach, Uncle Toni Nadal, joined the trophy presentation and brought Rafa a replica of the Roland Garros trophy that the Nadals will get to bring home with them. Uncle Toni will be stepping down as Rafa's coach at the end of the year to focus on his family and on coaching at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca so it was heartwarming to see the French Open honor the most successful coach in this event too before he moves on to other things.

Rafa has long established himself as the king of clay and it is just such a privilege to witness him add to his legacy by continuing to achieve unparalleled records in his already legendary career. Congratulations, Rafa!

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