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Rafael Nadal's domination at the French Open

The first major of the European season starts in less than 48 hours and for the first time in 10 years the title is literally up for grabs.


Rafael Nadal with the French Open

Rafael Nadal has dominated the tournament winning it 8 times in his 9 appearances. Roger Federer is the only other winner in the last decade.

Roger Federer 

Roland Garros is considered to be one of the toughest Grand Slams on the men’s tour. This is evident by the successes of former greats on this court.

Pete Sampras, a winner of 14 majors couldn’t get past the semi-final stage in his terrific career. Roger Federer has 17 grand slams to his credit, but has won this coveted trophy only once.

The man who comes closest to the Spaniard is Bjorn Borg who won the French Open 6 times. The next two names in the list are 3-time winners Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander.

Andre Agassi and Rod Laver have won the title once in the Open era. Both men have achieved the feat of Career Grand Slam (recipient of all 4 majors at the same time).

The likes of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker, legends in their own right, have struggled to add French Open to their Grand Slam tally.

To put things into perspective, no other player has won a single major 8 times. Roger Federer and Pete Sampras are tied at 7 Wimbledon titles apiece.

So what makes Nadal the man to beat each time he turns up at Roland Garros?

Rafael Nadal’s forehand return
  • The topspin on his forehand generates higher bounce making it difficult for his opponents to return effectively.
  • Any player who has faced Nadal on any surface tells you that he makes you hit an extra ball i.e. a winner against another player will be returned by Nadal.
    • His patience in longer rallies will wear out any opponent inducing a wrong shot in the process.
  • His temperament and stamina to go the distance in gruelling 5-setters sets him apart from other players.

Rafael Nadal’s win-loss record at Roland Garros reads an impressive 59-1! Robin Soderling is the only player to have beaten him here 5 years ago.

His indifferent form this year has raised question marks over his clay court dominance. He win-loss record is 11-3 before the start of the French Open.

Novak Djokovic had the better of Nadal in Rome and the man from Mallorca has won only 1 clay court event (Madrid Masters) heading into season’s second Major.

2014 Rome Masters

David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro beat Nadal in the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo and Barcelona tournaments respectively.

Is Nadal looking vulnerable on his favourite surface or will he make another stunning comeback to win his 14th Major?  

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