Nadal Wins Incredible 10th French Open Title

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.

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.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

19 Comments

  1. Congrats to relentless Rafa the fiercest competitor this game has ever seen. This record will probably be the hardest to break. Vamos Rafa.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘Fiercest competitor’ is exactly right B.Jay.

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  2. Wawrinka played Fognini, Monfis, Cilic, Murray. Who the hell Nadal played before the semifinal? He didn’t even play a quoterfinal. If you don’t google the names you probably could not name any.
    The king of clay got a cakewalk draw and this is a shame. Just beacause its nice for the sport for someone to win 10times the same tournament, players like Wawrinka are put in huge dissadvantage from the start of the event. How come he never had to meet the likes of in-form Kirgyos , Del Potro and even Thiem in early rounds lije they set Djokovic to stop his dominance ladt year. Time for aother Wimby for never tiring Fed as well. Long live the new medicine miricle.

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  3. “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.”

    Yeah kind of hard to do so, but I know what you mean. Sampras is one the ATG on grass and hard courts whereas Nadal only is the GOAT on clay, definitely not on hard courts or grass (compared to the best of the best on those surfaces in terms of achievements, not H2H only). It’s a pity for Sampras that he was so one dimensional and not able to adapt to win something big on clay.

    Having said that, do you think Nadal should be put in a higher order than Federer, Laver or Djokovic IF he ends up with 19 Slams with 14 FO titles? Except for Djokovic, I can’t see anyone stopping Nadal from getting 3 more FO tbh. He doesn’t even have to be at his utmost best to win the FO.

    This final makes you appreciate Djokovic even more. Yes even he crumbled and double faulted in both finals on match point, but at least he pushed Nadal to five sets and straight setted him in 2015. Also, since 2011, their H2H on clay is 7-6 in favour of Djokovic :D

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t forget Sampras is also one of the ATG of indoor tennis Eren. And he does have a Masters title on clay. You make a good point about Sampras being one of the ATG on hard and grass courts while Nadal is only the greatest on clay.

    People are always staring themselves blind against slam titles while forgetting these important details. No, I don’t think Nadal should be put in a higher order than the ones you mentioned even if he won 10 more FO titles. Winning more FO titles only makes his resume more unbalanced. After this FO title, he has now won 10/15 of his slams on clay. He still has never defended a title off of clay, he has never won a WTF title, and he spent the 7th most weeks at #1(Sampras is 2nd).

    A 10th FO title only makes him more of a clay court specialist to me. If he wants to be in the bracket of the guys you mentioned he should win another AO title, win at least one WTF title, and spend some more weeks at #1. As for Nadal winning more FO titles, Djokovic will stop him once he regains his form. I’m not even sure how Nadal can still play as much as he did this year after being an early bloomer and having the most taxing game style in history. Both him and Federer slam titles this year defies belief.

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    Eren Reply:

    Sampras is definitely an indoor hard court ATG as well. The best of the best on fast surfaces with his canon serve.

    I knew he won a Master’s event on clay but one Master’s event on clay is too little to call him a top clay court player. On clay he was simply a little above average. His best result at RG was a SF.

    The thing that kind of concerns me is the following. If Nadal wins another Wimbledon, he’ll have three Slams on HC, three Slams on grass and ten on clay. Djokovic and Federer only have one on clay though they perform much better on non-clay surfaces. Despite his ridiculous dependency on clay, he’ll have a seemingly balanced resume.

    Obviously, Nadal can never be the GOAT due to his extreme inconsistencies that you’ve mentioned and the fact that he fades away after the clay court season is over. He had his years in 2008, 2010 and 2013 but that’s all.

    I just don’t think a lot of tennis fans will care about his lack of inconsistency if he gets three Slams on each surface.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s a fair point about the three titles on every surface. Never really thought about it like that. Obviously, if he wins another Wimby that would help his resume. Any slam that he wins off of clay will help his resume. But there is still something missing.

    Why did Federer and Djokovic win 6 and 5 WTF titles respectively and Nadal 0? Why do they play some of their best tennis toward the end of the year while Nadal is always useless at that time? Why do Federer and Djokovic have 302 and 223 weeks at #1 respectively and Nadal only 141? Why do Federer and Djokovic have plenty of indoor titles and Nadal only 1? Why has Nadal never defended a title off of clay? These are all things to take into consideration.

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    Eren Reply:

    Completely agree with you though it seems that Nadal is the only man in the entire history of tennis to have at least two Slams on every surface.

    But his lack of consistency on non-clay surfaces costs him the GOAT title imo.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s actually not true Laver, Emerson, and La Coste all have two on each surface as well. And I am pretty sure Djokovic will at the end of the day. But yeah, it’s pretty crazy that Nadal is the one of the big three who achieved that feat.

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    Eren Reply:

    I thought they played on grass and clay only as three out of four Slams were played on grass earlier in the days. I don’t think any of them won a Slam on HC. Hard courts were introduced somewhere in the 70s I thought.

    But I could be totally wrong.
    And yes, Djokovic does have huge potential for winning at least one more FO title.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No, you are totally right. I am totally wrong. Nadal is the only guy with 2 slams on each surface.

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    B.Jay Reply:

    And Wilander as well I think, but for Nadal to be the one of this era to have that record for now is a bit odd considering his supposed one-courtedness.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Wilander didn’t win Wimbledon. It’s odd indeed. But he still has flaws like indoor incompetence, too much reliance on clay, and thus an inability to dominate the sport for long periods and spend time at #1. In this era with homogenous surfaces and string technology, it is also easier to win slams on all surfaces. Take 90’s grass for instance. It’s highly doubtful Nadal would have won Wimbledon in those times. The hard court slams were faster too. And there were more indoor events. Tennis has also become more physical with more baseline tennis. Everything worked in Nadal’s favor in this era. To me, he still lacks something in his game. Even in this era, he has been blasted off the court many times by big hitters who were on their game. Imagine what it would have been like in an era with fast conditions and many more indoor events. Nadal lacks offensive capabilities. He relies heavily on defense.

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  4. Too many references to Djokovic…(when the title is about Nadal)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Three mentions of Djokovic, one of them to help explain how great Nadal’s achievement is. Sorry is that is too many for you. This is not a Nadal blog 😀

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  5. There is no denying that Rafa deserved this title and worked for it, although not extremely hard, as I agree with the person who pointed out the cakewalk draw that Rafa had to the final. It may have made no difference in the end, he may have still won it in impressive form regardless of the draw. But why spare him? Isn’t he the king of clay? So why does he need so much “protection”? The other thing is, was Rafa ever in the top half of the draw during this clay season?
    Anyway, the clay season is now water under the bridge. But I can see quite a few articles giving Rafa the “favorite” call for Wimbledon already. Does he really have what it takes (at this late time in his career) to win Wimbledon and go on to claim the year end #1, maybe even win the WTF for the first time? I guess we shall see. ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, it will be interesting to find out what happened next Marta.

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    Nandan Reply:

    Nadal was given the favorite tag at Wimbledon every year he won French Open (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).
    And since 2012 he has not even got to the second week at Wimbledon.
    The biggest Psychological difference that players have against Nadal on clay is invincibility. They lose mentally even before the match starts.
    On Grass players just don’t feel that way. Even a very lower ranked player believes that he can take him out on Grass and it has happened against Rosol, Dustin Brown.
    So unless, Nadal reaches Quarter Finals, I don’t think he is the favorite at all in Wimbledon.

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