Rafael Nadal and the other men who become great at the Roland Garros



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Rafael Nadal and the other men who become great at the Roland Garros

Here we are! There are only a few days left until the Roland Garros 2023 starts, and this will be a historic edition. There will be no Rafael Nadal, and it will be the first French Open since the retirement of Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

André Vacherot was one of the players who wrote the history of the tournament during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He won four editions of the French Open (1894, 1895, 1896, 1901). René Lacoste won the title three times (1925, 1927, 1929), Jean Borotra won the title in 1931 and Henri Cochet won five editions (1922 1926 1928 1930 1932).

Their monopoly lasted from 1922 until 1932, with the only exception of 1923. Jacques Brugnon made two times the quarterfinals in the men's singles, but he was loved by the French crowd, as part of that memorable quartet of champions.

Rafael Nadal and the other men who become great at the Roland Garros

Ivan Lendl and Gustavo Kuerten preceded the absolute dominance of Rafael Nadal, the true great protagonist of the French Open, able to win 14 editions (a record), dominating his opponents over almost fourteen years.

Only in retrospect, in a few years, we will realize how much the Spaniard has upset the history of this tournament, linking it in a stainless manner to his image, in a mutual exchange. Between the mid-30s and the mid-70s, champions such as Gottfried von Cramm, Nicola Pietrangeli and Manuel Santana will be foreve remembered.

Then with the arrival of Bjorn Borg, 6-times winner of the title (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981), fans had a new idol to support. Max Décugis is certainly one of the emblems of this tournament. The Frenchman won the title eight times (1903, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912, 1913, 1914), and was, until 2013, the most successful tennis player in men's singles.

Also the winner of three Olympic medals, his career was completely ruined by the First World War. Rafael Nadal is the man who wrote the most important pages of the Roland Garros history. A final mention goes to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic; they have won only one edition of the French Slam, but with those victories, they completed the much-dreamed-about career Slam.

Rafael Nadal Roger Federer Serena Williams