Rafael Nadal clinched a record-extending 14th French Open crown by defeating Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday. The 36-year-old thrashed the Norwegian 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to become the oldest man to win Roland Garros in the Open Era.
Not many expected Nadal to have a meaningful run in the tournament due to concerns regarding his chronic foot injury. The Spaniard lost in the third round of the Italian Open against Denis Shapovalov and was visibly hampered during the match. The Spaniard announced that he would bring his doctor with him to the Paris Major to help control the pain.
He produced some sensational tennis over the course of the fortnight, beating four top-10 players including Felix Auger-Aliassime, Novak Djokovic and Ruud to win his second Slam of the year. Nadal's victory also saw him clinch a 22nd Grand Slam singles title, thus extending his lead over Djokovic and Roger Federer to two Slams. However, there are a few players whose career achievements in Majors eclipse the Spaniard's.
On that note, let's take a look at the highest number of Grand Slam singles titles won by any player, male or female, and see where Rafael Nadal stands at present.
#3 Rafael Nadal and Steffi Graf - 22
Rafael Nadal's 22nd Grand Slam title puts him level with the great Steffi Graf. Both players have won the third-highest number of Major singles titles in the history of tennis. Graf rose to prominence in 1987 when she won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open. She also reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open that year.
Graf had ger greatest season in 1988. She won all four Majors as well as Olympic Gold in Seoul. The German won the French Open final by beating Natasha Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in the shortest Grand Slam final ever played (32 minutes). The following year, she won three out of four Majors.
Graf's dominance continued in the 1990s and she won three out of four Grand Slams each year in 1993, 1995 and 1996.
Graf's final Grand Slam title came at the French Open in 1999 after which she retired. She ended up with four Australian Open titles, six French Opens, seven Wimbledon triumphs and five US Open crowns.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s and won his maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2005.
Rafael Nadal's first Grand Slam title outside Roland Garros came at Wimbledon in 2008, when he beat Roger Federer in what is regarded as one of the greatest tennis matches ever played.
The Spaniard won the Australian Open in 2009, and in 2010, he won three successive Majors. Rafael Nadal continued to rack up French Open crowns on an. almost years basis while also winning the US Open in 2013, 2017 and 2019.
This year, the King of Clay won his first Australian Open crown in 13 years to surpass Federer and Djokovic's tallies of 20 Grand Slam titles. His recent triumph in Paris means the Spaniard now leads his arch-rivals by two Slams.
Till date, the Spaniard has won the Australian twice, the French Open a record 14 times, Wimbledon twice and the US Open four times.
#2 Serena Williams - 23 Grand Slams
Serena Williams occupies the second spot with 23 Grand Slam singles titles to her name, which is more than any other player in the Open Era. The American and her sister Venus Williams were considered precocious talents and both soon became tennis superstars by the early 2000s.
Serena's first Grand Slam singles crown came in the 1999 US Open, when she beat Martina Hingis in the final. Her next Major title came in 2002, when she won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The American completed the Career Grand Slam when she won the Australian Open in 2003.
Serena Williams came very close to completing a Calendar Slam in 2015 when she won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. However, she lost to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the US Open.
Serena surpassed Steffi Graf's tally of 22 Grand Slams by winning the Australian Open in 2017. She has reached four Grand Slam finals since but has lost in straight sets on each occasion.
As of now, Serena Williams has won the Australian Open seven times, the French Open thrice, Wimbledon seven times and the US Open six times.
#1 Margaret Court - 24 Grand Slams
As of now, Australian legend Margaret Court holds the record for the highest number of Grand Slam singles titles with 24. 11 of these came during the Open Era and the other 13 when Slams were strictly for amateurs.
Court's first Major came in 1960 when she won the Australian Open aged just 17. She dominated women's tennis in the 1960s and carried her success into the Open Era, which began in 1968.
Court won three out of four Grand Slam titles in 1969 before winning all four in 1970. She became only the second woman to win a Calendar Slam after Maureen Connolly in 1953. Court's last Grand Slam title came at the US Open in 1973.
The Australian retired with a record 11 Australian Open titles, five French Open crowns, three Wimbledon titles and five US Open titles.
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