Rafael Nadal Wins an Unprecedented 10th French Open Title

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No other men’s player in history has won the same tournament ten times. Rafael Nadal has now accomplished this feat at three different tournaments–including at a Grand Slam. In what has absolutely been his most dominant French Open tournament out of his ten wins (see stat below), Nadal put in a masterclass performance to defeat Stan Wawrinka and improve to a perfect 10-0 in French Open finals.

Honestly, the number of superlative stats we could quote about Nadal at the French Open is unreal. Nadal has only lost two matches at Roland Garros, for an incredible 79-2 record on the Paris clay. In addition to those two losses, only twice has a player taken two sets off Nadal (John Isner in the 2011 first round and Novak Djokovic in the 2013 semifinal).

How impressive is Nadal’s ten wins at the French Open? For a little perspective, no other man has won the same Slam more than seven times–in the Open Era, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras each won Wimbledon seven teams. Aside from Federer, the only active player with more than two wins at the same Slam is Novak Djokovic, with six at the Australian Open. Federer would have to win three more Wimbledons or Djokovic would have to win four more Australian Opens to match this feat–which would mean Federer winning a Slam at the age of 36 and Djokovic at the age of 34, and that’s only if either of those players can win those Slams in three or four consecutive years, respectively. If anyone else is going to win ten of a Slam, it’s going to be a player who hasn’t even appeared on the stage yet, meaning that this record will stand for quite a while.

The incredible part is that Nadal is probably not done yet, at least looking at how he played this tournament. He was absolutely untouchable, winning the tournament without dropping a set for the third time in his career. In fact, he only lost 35 games this tournament, equalling his 2012 performance as his best ever in this regard. We always ask how much longer Nadal can play at a high level, due to the physical nature of his playing style, but he’s certainly not showing any signs of slowing down, at least on clay.

The final itself wasn’t particularly compelling, but that was due to no fault of Wawrinka’s. Wawrinka played decently well, to be honest. Nadal was just untouchable. Wawrinka looked like he might be competitive early, opening up a break point in the third game, but Nadal slammed that door and then upped his level to remind us why he is the “King of Clay.” Nadal rattled off seven straight games after it was 2-2, and Wawrinka never had a chance from there. Nadal carried his early break in the second set to an easy 63 set win, and followed that up by getting a break early in the third. Wawrinka took Nadal to deuce in the fourth game of the set, but never had a real chance to earn the break back after that. Wawrinka tried mixing things up all throughout the match and trying different things, especially on his own serve, but nothing at all would work for him. Nadal was just too good, in all facets of the game.

For Nadal, this 15th overall Grand Slam win moves him into sole possession of second place on the all-time list, finally passing Pete Sampras, with whom he had been tied at 14 for three years now. With the way Nadal has played this year, though, and at this tournament in particular, it’s hard to imagine that Nadal will be stuck at 15 for long. In fact, this dominant performance may make us wonder if matching Federer’s record of 18 is in play, though Federer has also won a Slam this year and may have something to say about adding to his own record number.

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