The French Open has been around since the late 1800’s and it has been one of the biggest events in the sport of tennis. The venue at Roland Garros in Paris, France might soon be renamed for Spain’s famed tennis player Rafael Nadal. Nadal’s straight set victory yesterday over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer was his fourth consecutive French Open Championship and his eighth in nine years. We haven’t seen this kind of dominance on the men’s side at the French Open since Sweden’s Bjorn Borg won six titles between 1974 and 1981. Nadal’s eight French Open Championships tie him with France’s Max Decugis for the most titles in the history of the event.
The French Open is played on a clay surface and most of the better tennis players over the years have never been able to master the surface. As good as International Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras was during his illustrious career, he was never able to win at the French Open as the furthest that he ever advanced at Roland Garros was to the semifinals in 1996. At the other three Grand Slam events, (Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open) Sampras won at least two championships at each event.
Nadal’s dominance at the French Open is something that should be respected. After not participating in this year’s Australian Open due to an illness, Nadal got back on track at Roland Garros. Now Nadal will look to carry this momentum over to Wimbledon which begins at the end of this month. As of late, Wimbledon has been dominated by Switzerland’s Roger Federer who has been Nadal’s chief rival during this era of tennis. Since 2003, Federer has won seven Wimbledon Championships, but Nadal was able to win at the All-England Club in 2008 and again in 2010 after falling to Federer in 2006 and 2007 in the final there. In four of Nadal’s eight titles at the French Open, he defeated Federer in the finals which was highlighted by an epic five-set battle in 2011.
At the age of 27, Nadal isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as he is the “King of Clay”.