Congrats to Nadal for coming back from a deep slump and a three-year slam drought to defeat Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 today. This has to go down as one of the greatest achievements ever in our sport. Or at the very least the single greatest achievement on clay.
I personally think that the French Open is the most difficult slam to win due to it’s sheer physical and mental demands. Over the years I have seen all-time greats like Agassi, Federer, and Djokovic struggle immensely to finally win their one and only French Open title and when they finally won it it was very emotional and a huge relief.
Other greats like Sampras, Edberg, and Becker could never win the title. It takes enormous mental and physical reserves to win this slam and Nadal has now done it 10 times. And this time he made it look easier than ever except for 2008.
The 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 scoreline today was almost as humiliating as in 2008 when Nadal destroyed Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in the final. 2008 was Nadal’s most dominant run at the French Open but it is pretty crazy that this year was his second most dominant run in Paris.
But that’s what can happen when a player comes back from a long and deep slump. The deeper the valley the higher the peak. It’s a kind of law of nature. Just like Djokovic is currently in a deep valley after the peak of the personal slam. But either way, it was another very impressive clay court season from Nadal and he has finally surpassed Sampras in slam titles.
Nadal doesn’t nearly have the number of weeks at number one as Sampras or the number of World Tour Finals titles but you probably have to put him ahead of Sampras in the GOAT debate now. Nadal also has the career slam which Sampras doesn’t have.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 11, 2017
As for the match today, it was all a little too boring and predictable. I said in my last post that Wawrinka had a 1% chance of winning and the scoreline reflected that prediction.
That brings me to another point. Nadal specializes in clay court tennis. He is so good and dominant on the surface that it makes things too predictable. That’s not a criticism of Nadal as a clay courter. He is a phenomenal clay courter but it does raise questions for me about his overall resume and his place in the GOAT debate.
Let’s be honest, we didn’t learn much today that we didn’t already know. Sure, winning 10 titles at a given slam is a milestone and a remarkable achievement but we already knew that Nadal was the clay GOAT. If Nadal had won the Australian Open earlier this year where he was a break up in the fifth set against a player he owned that would have told us something we didn’t already know because it would have given him the double career slam.
But I don’t want to go on about this point too much. Winning a 10th French Open is a remarkable achievement by itself and should be given the credit it deserves. We should also be careful not to fall for hype like Nadal is now the favorite for Wimbledon, the US Open, and to end the year as number one.
This may be Nadal’s final grand slam title. It is already unbelievable that he came back from as deep a slump as he was in to win another grand slam title. Tennis fans are often greedy and don’t appreciate what just happened.
It is quite astonishing what happened so far in tennis this year. Federer winning the Australian Open made little sense and now Nadal won the French Open after coming back from the dead. If anything this is a very hopeful sign for Djokovic who is now in his first serious slump but who is still #4 in the world and who has gone without a slam title for only a year.
Compared to Federer’s and Nadal’s slumps, that is still nothing.