Nick Kyrgios played a safe bet and named Rafael Nadal as the 2023 Roland Garros winner! The Aussie believes that Rafa will continue his streak on beloved clay and claim another title at 37! Nadal debuted in Paris in 2005 and lifted the trophy after beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta.
Over the years, the Spaniard became the most dominant player at a single Major, conquering 14 Roland Garros titles from 18 trips to Paris! This year's Roland Garros was the most challenging one for Nadal. The Spaniard raised above all the obstacles to deliver his 14th crown and extend his incredible legacy.
At 36, Nadal became the oldest Roland Garros winner, almost two decades after conquering the first title as a teenager! Heading to Paris with a troubled foot and no form, Rafa rediscovered his Roland Garros magic and improved his incredible numbers that no one will match in the future.
Nadal brought his doctor to Paris and received injections ahead of every match to cancel the pain in his foot and endure the best-of-five encounters in his kingdom. He did that in style, as many times before, overcoming the most challenging obstacles to regain the trophy lost to Novak Djokovic a year ago.
Rafael Nadal has won 14 Roland Garros titles from 18 trips to Paris.
Nadal kicked off his 18th Roland Garros campaign with solid victories over Jordan Thompson, Corentin Moutet and Botic Van De Zandschulp. He defeated them in straight sets and preserved energy for the second week.
In the fourth round, the Spaniard faced the first serious rival in Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian forced Rafa's rare five-setter in Paris, and the more experienced player shifted into a higher gear to prevail and reach the quarter-final.
Things became even more difficult for Nadal, with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic waiting on the other side of the net. After a massive battle, Rafa performed a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 triumph in four hours and 12 minutes to find himself in the last four and dethrone the Serb.
The Spaniard was the more determined player and made a better start in three out of four sets to gain a boost. Djokovic gave his best in sets two and four and had two set points at 5-3 to force a decider. Nadal denied them and clinched the set in the tie break to emerge at the top.
Alexander Zverev pushed him even harder in the semi-final, and the second set was still on when they passed the three-hour mark! Nadal fended off four set points in the opener and came from behind in the second for 7-6, 6-6.
Zverev had to retire after injuring his right ankle, leaving the court in tears and sending Nadal into his 14th Roland Garros final. Casper Ruud tried to prevent Rafa's 14th title, but it was not to be for the first-time Major finalist!
Nadal earned a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory in two hours and 18 minutes, taming his strokes nicely and breaking the younger opponent eight times to control the scoreboard and lift his 22nd Major crown. "Rafael Nadal will claim another Roland Garros title next year.
Unless I stop him, Novak Djokovic is the favorite at Wimbledon. I can not see Novak losing at the Australian Open and the US Open. Daniil Medvedev is capable of stopping him. However, it will be tough for us all to beat him at Majors outside Paris because of his dominance," Nick Kyrgios said.