Where does Rafael Nadal's 12th French Open title put him on list of greatest tennis players of all time?
Rafael Nadal just completed a stunning victory at Roland Garros, defeating Dominic Thiem in the tournament's final. For Nadal, who will be 34 years old in June, it is his 12th victory at the French Open.
Given his enormous success, what are the odds of the Spaniard becoming the most successful tennis player of all time?
Friendly rivalry with Roger Federer
For most of their career, Nadal and Federer have been fierce rivals on the court. Between them, they have shared the greatest honours in the tennis circuit. While Nadal has 18 Grand Slam titles under his belt, Federer has a record 20 Major crowns to his name.
However, it would seem that Nadal still has a very good chance of not only catching up to his Swiss rival but even surpassing him in the near future.
Nadal, after his triumph in Paris, was characteristically quick to recognize Federer's achievements, admitting that he is not concerned with getting one over the Swiss. However, he did admit that winning a few more important trophies is part of his future plans.
Nadal realistically still has a few years of top-level tennis in him. The Spaniard remains among the favorites to claim the top prize in most of the Slams that he takes part in. Federer is 37 and will likely play for a few more years as well, with a similar objective to Nadal.
Becoming the greatest tennis player of all time
The sport of tennis has certainly changed in recent decades. Players receive more attention now than ever before and, arguably, the circuit has never been as competitive as it is now.
With that being said, nothing can take away from the incredible list of achievements of Australian tennis player, Ken Rosewall. Rosewall won 23 major tennis tournaments. His first trophy came in 1953 at the Australian Open. He won his last, also on home soil, in 1972.
Some would argue that Nadal and Federer have already overcome Rosewall's records. While this is debatable, it should be noted that the Australian won only 8 Grand Slam titles, the other triumphs coming in lower-tier competitions such as the French Pro.
To some, Nadal is already the greatest tennis player of all time. However, frequent injuries have undoubtedly robbed the Spaniard of the chance to win additional silverware. Regardless of the number of trophies Nadal ends his career with, he will always be a true great of the sport!