Rafael Nadal is among the greatest tennis players ever to have stepped on the tennis court. When a 19-year old teenager from Manacor, in a sleeveless t-shirt and pirate pants, won the French Open in 2005, he shocked the entire tennis world. Nadal had been an athlete since his early years, playing football and tennis both. His success is majorly attributed to his uncle Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player himself, who identified the talent in his nephew and trained him diligently. He was Nadal’s first coach and went on to be his coach till 2017 when he stepped down to take charge of Rafa’s tennis academy in Spain.
Nadal is widely regarded as the greatest clay-court player to have ever played the game, his records speaking for himself. The brutal nature of his physical game, wearing down opponents each point and playing each point as if it’s his last, has made Nadal the champion he is. In his incredible career, he has amassed several records. Here are 4 grand slam records set by Nadal that will stand the test of time.
#4 Seven Grand Slam Finals Reached Without Losing A Set
Reaching the final of a grand slam is no big joke. Only the very best players who consistently perform at the highest level for 2 consecutive weeks can reach the championship match of a major. But Nadal is the only player to have reached the final without losing a single set on his way, and not just once but 7 times! He reached the finals without dropping a set in the following majors: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2017 French Opens, 2010 US Open, and the 2019 Australian Open.
#3 Youngest Player To Complete The Career Grand Slam
Winning one grand slam is a dream of many players. Some win many majors but don’t win each major (e.g., Pete Sampras has won 14 majors but never won the French Open). There are a few players who have won each of the 4 majors at least one time. But Nadal is the youngest player to achieve this feat, doing so at a young age of 24!
#2 Win % At The French Open
Rafa goes in a different beast mode altogether when he is playing at the French Open. The level of dominance he has on the red dirt at Paris is merely devastating. The most significant proof of this is the ridiculous win percentage of 97.9% (93-2) he has at the French Open.
#1 Twelve French Open Titles
Some players can’t even win a single grand slam title. Then there is Nadal, who has won an astounding 12 grand slam titles at the French Open itself. He has shown levels of dominance unheard of in the tennis world when he has played at the French Open, winning the tournament from 2005-2008, then from 2010-2014, and then again from 2017-2019, with his only 2 losses coming in 2009 against Robin Soderling and in 2015 against Novak Djokovic