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.
For each season, however, there is a particular goal, an achievement that should be highlighted. In 2018 Nadal achieved a simply exceptional record: the Spaniard won the 11th title in one Slam: the Roland Garros men's singles, matching Margaret Smith's Australian Open's 11 titles record in the women's singles.
This is a record that Margaret Smith had held since 1973, the year in which the Australian won her last title in Melbourne, beating Evonne Goolagong in the final. Smith's 11 titles record has lasted 45 years. it is difficult to explain in words the importance of his triumph.
Breaking a record that has lasted for almost 45 years means achieving an epochal goal. And indeed Nadal wrote an indelible page of the record book, that day. Winning the same Slam eleven times (the following year will be twelve - ed.) means being special.
Rafa expressed unprecedented dominance in the history of tennis on clay-courts, wiping out all opponents in two different decades. Probably on clay-courts he could have beaten any tennis player from the past, present and future.
Rafael Nadal's journey towards the 2018 Roland Garros victory
Rafa won his first four rounds without too many problems, eliminating respectively: Simone Bolelli, Guido Pella, Richard Gasquet and Maximilian Marterer.
In the quarterfinals he faced the Argentinian Diego Schwartzman: Nadal needed four sets to overcome the always tough Diego. In the semifinals Rafa challenged another Argentinian, Juan Martin del Potro, winning in straight sets.
In the final he faced his new fierce rival on clay-courts: Dominic Thiem. He won his 11th French Open by defeating the Austrian in three sets, 6-4 6-3 6-2. That season he also won the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Barcelona, the Italian Open and the Rogers Cup.
"As a boy I thought that at 30 years-old I would have already retired and instead I am still here. The only thing I know is that I will have a family. Of course I just won't stay. Someone tells us that the time available has expired.
If this exchange helped you understand more who the Rafa Nadal man is, then you know who won," said Rafael Nadal in 2018.