Nadal continues love affair with Roland Garros

No stopping
Rafael Nadal exults after winning the French Open. Design: Onmanorama

Rafael Nadal continued his love affair with the clay courts of Roland Garros as he crushed world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to clinch a record-extending 13th French Open title and draw level with Swiss maestro Roger Federer for the most number of Grand Slam singles titles by a male player – 20.

The Spaniard is indeed the King of Clay. The demolition of Serb Djokovic was his 100th win at Roland Garros. He has an incredible 100-2 win-loss record in French Open. No other player has dominated a single Grand Slam like the left-hander from Mallorca.

Nadal has been a great fighter and his resilience has been his biggest ally. He decided to skip the US Open in the wake of the COVID-19 scare and gave himself the best shot to win another Grand Slam by opting to play the French Open.

Nadal was the hot favourite going into the tournament despite the defeat in the preceding Italian Open where he fell to Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals. Prior to the French Open, Nadal had expressed his concern over the heavy balls used this time and feared that they would slow down the pace of the game and may even hurt his shoulder. But once the tournament got under way there was no stopping Nadal.

He outplayed Argentine Schwartzman in the semifinal and then dished out a masterclass to Djokovic in the summit clash. The world No. 2 also became the first man to win four Grand Slams without losing a set.

King Nadal
Nadal is delighted after winning his 13th French Open. Photo: Reuters

At 34, Nadal has plenty of tennis left in him. With Federer slated to comeback next year after missing much of this season due to a knee surgery and Djokovic at the top of his prowess, men’s tennis is likely to witness the run of the Big Three for a few more seasons. And add to it, the new guns Dominic Thiem, who became the first man born after 1990 to win a Grand  Slam when he triumphed in the US Open, German hope Alexander Zverev, Russian Daniil Medvedev and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, tennis fans are in for a treat.

Coming second best
Novak Djokovic was outplayed by Rafael Nadal in the final. Photo: Reuters
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