At 34 years old Rafael Nadal has done the unthinkable, winning the French Open (Roland Garros) for the 13th time. No one has ever achieved this before and it will be a long time until someone else reaches this level, if ever. Nadal, now world number 2, beat Novak Djokovic, world number 1, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 on Sunday October 11, 2020, to win yet another Grand Slam championship. This win ties Nadal with Roger Federer for 20 grand slams the most in men’s tennis.
Djokovic and Nadal have a history of rivalry. The two have faced off at the French Open 9 times. In total the two have met 56 times with Djokovic winning 10 of the past 14 matches.Embed from Getty Images
“I’ve played [Rafa] more than I [have] played any other player in my professional career. Our head-to-head is the biggest head-to-head ever in the history of the sport…he’s definitely my greatest rival.”– Novak Djokovic (https://www.instagram.com/p/CGM99IQB1tL/)
Nadal, however, is no doubt the king of clay. On clay Nadal has won 17 of 24 matches. Growing up on clay courts in Spain Nadal has always been comfortable in that environment giving him an edge when playing in the French Open. Djokovic’s 52 unforced errors also helped Nadal clinch the victory.
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“Today you showed why you are the king of the clay…I was definitely overplayed by a better player today on the court.”– Novak Djokovic (https://www.instagram.com/p/CGNb8_ohKe-/)
This was only Nadal’s second tournament since the pandemic hit as he did not play in the U.S. Open due to Covid concerns. Nevertheless Nadal returned as strong as ever. He proved that he is still one of the best and I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see him hoisting a Grand Slam trophy.