Rafael Nadal's career is studded with great successes and incredible records: with 19 Slams he is aiming Roger Federer's record, but the Spaniard has achieved other great goals, such as the twelve triumphs at the Roland Garros and all the titles on clay-courts.
For each season, however, there is a particular goal, an achievement that should be highlighted. 2011 was a season of ups and downs for Nadal, conditioned by some physical problems and by the brutal defeats against Novak Djokovic, the true ruler of the year.
He won a total of three titles, including his sixth Roland Garros title. He came from an extraordinary season: in fact in 2010 Rafa won three Slams, including Wimbledon and the US Open, completing the Grand Slam career (or career Golden Slam, considering the Olympic gold medal won in the men's singles event of Beijing 2008).
However in 2011 his path was very different from the previous season, although still winning. In Paris, Nadal had been the real protagonist of the French Open since 2005. In that year he, as the top-seed, faced John Isner in the first round, winning an incredible five-set battle, with the American who won the second and third set.
Rafa recovered in the fourth set and he won the challenge in the five decisive one, completing an extraordinary comeback, made difficult by an opponent who expressed one of his best prformances on clay-courts.
Another final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the Roland Garros
In the second, third and fourth rounds Nadal faced and defeated Pablo Andujar, Antonio Veic and Ivan Ljubicic, respectively, winning all his rounds in straight sets.
In the quarter-finals, he faced and defeated Robin Soderling (at that time the only man able to beat Rafa at the French Open) in three sets. Nadal needed three sets to beat Andy Murray in the semifinals. In the final, he faced his long-time rival, Roger Federer.
the Swiss Maestro was experiencing one of the worst seasons of his career, yet he had the chance to win his second Roland Garros title. Nadal won the challenge 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1, with the first three sets of the highest level.
"There has been a drop in intensity this year, and in my opinion, it is logical that there is after seven seasons in which I have rarely lost to the first and I have not had serious injuries," said Rafa at the end of the year, in a season dominated by Djokovic, another of his long-time rivals.