There are truths to be immutable. Like this: Rafael Nadal is unbeatable among his peers when it bounces a small yellow ball on ocher ground, especially when Roland Garros. This truth has prevailed for the fourteenth time.
“Bull Manacor” picked up the Musketeers’ Cup in the Parisian sky once again, but not once too much. Nadal pushed the boundaries of hegemony a little further, one that might have seemed a year ago.
On June 11, 2021, the clay winning machine actually stalled. Rafael Nadal stumbled over Novak Djokovic in the exceptional semifinals. As with the double penalty, he also saw that his health was becoming too handicapped to be swept away by a backhand rocket. Müller-Weiss syndrome consumed the bone in his right leg, and there was time left to finish the rest of his story.
But with great care, perseverance, and the inexplicable je-ne-sais-quoi that makes the DNA of the greatest, Nadal is at the top again on earth. It must be acknowledged that the Mallorcan is perhaps no longer as irresistible as during his most brilliant triumphs. Félix Auger-Aliassime moved him to the fifth set. Alexander Zverev dominated the game, the German burst at key moments before ending in tears, free ankle and step resting on crutches. The Spaniard has been experiencing such a situation all too well in recent months, which further strengthens this 14th title.
“His training was really shortened by a stressful fracture in his ribs and a problem with his leg. He came with fewer matches, fewer wins than usual and couldn’t train enough. We knew he wasn’t in the best shape and had a disgusting table.” so it’s a real success he has done “explains Patrick Mouratoglou, France Télévisions consultant.
The repetition has a delicious taste when the author is Mallorcan. It’s a privilege of legends, he’ll never really get bored. Because Rafael Nadal always puts so much heart into it. Because none of his opponents give him a present. Because he is far from the only monster of his generation. Because his body is doing everything to make the series end. If the Australian Open already looked like a resurrection at the beginning of the season, this new coronation is a return home. Where Nadal should be.
It was Porte d’Auteuil who paved the way for him from the Canary Islands to an almost indisputable government on a surface that is so hard to tame. Since 2005 and his first masterpiece 17 years ago to this day, Nadal has known everything: trophies, weeks spent as world number one, fantastic rivalry. A successful year has always been a victory for Roland-Garros.
Novak Djokovic boasts a certain grip in Australia (9 titles). Roger Federer and Martina Navrátilová blossomed well in Wimbledon in the English garden (8 and 9 crowns). But none of his records on Roland-Garros reached “far-reaching” peaks: 112 won matches. 97.4% wins (100% in 14 finals). Of the 74 defeated opponents, only 16 took his set. He won four of his titles without losing a single set, which no other player has managed to do in Major.
Whether on the last Roland-Garros or not, Rafael Nadal has done so much in clay that he doesn’t have to worry about the clue he leaves in the chronicles. “Sure, he’s the biggest on Roland-Garros”assures Mary Pierce, France Télévisions consultant.
Rafael Nadal is 36 years old today and will face Alexander Zverev in the semifinals at Roland Garros. If Nadal wins, he will be the oldest French Open finalist.
Just a reminder to show our dominance in clay: Rafa is the last TEENAGER to reach the French Open final in 2005. pic.twitter.com/PRcbEpRBzI
– ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 3, 2022
His Sunday rival, Nora Casper Ruud, was 6 years old when Rafael Nadal won his first title. The latter became the oldest Roland-Garros winner after being one of the first.
With information from Maël Russeau (franceinfo: sport)