On Sunday, Rafael Nadal won the 20th Major crown at beloved Roland Garros, matching Roger Federer's record for the first time. The 34-year-old Spaniard passed all the obstacles to reign again in his kingdom, earning the 13th title in Paris and hoping to pass the Swiss in 2021.
With Novak Djokovic standing on 17 Majors, the race is still on between three of the greatest players of all time. Mats Wilander gives Rafa the biggest chance to finish at tt the top following yesterday's performance over Djokovic, although he doesn't rule the Serb out from the battle.
Competing in one of the most important matches of his entire career, the Spaniard produced another remarkable performance on his beloved Court Philippe-Chatrier, toppling world no. 1 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes.
Nadal has scored 100 triumphs from 102 matches in Paris, a remarkable number that should stand for good, at any Major. It was anything but a regular Roland Garros, with the event staged in October, with new balls and roof over the central court.
Above all that, Nadal had played only one tournament between Acapulco and Roland Garros, suffering the quarter-final loss in Rome and bouncing back to conquer Paris without losing a set at 34! Suffering only eight breaks in seven matches, Nadal delivered one of his best serving displays in Paris, pushing the rivals to the limits on the return and enduring three tight sets against Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic.
Thus, Rafa became the third-oldest champion in Paris after Andres Gimeno and Ken Rosewall, five decades ago! Nadal is the first player in the Open era with four Major titles won without dropping a set, extending his dominance on the slowest surface and claiming the 60th ATP title on clay.
Mats Wilander believes Rafael Nadal should win the most Majors.
In the final, Rafa had to be aggressive and focused against the most formidable opponent, producing his masterplan and leaving Novak far behind in the opening two sets.
Nadal finished the match with 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, performing strongly from both wings and stealing 51% of the return points to forge the crucial difference. Novak counted to 52 unforced errors, searching for his A-game for more than two hours and not turning the tables around despite a solid effort in the third set.
Rafa lost serve once, and that was never enough for Novak to feel comfortable, losing his mighty return's magic and having no idea how to deal with the opponent who demolished him in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.
"What we saw today tells us that Rafa Nadal most probably has the best chance to go down as the greatest male tennis player of all time. We have our doubts about Roger Federer, of course, can he still win another one because he's a genius.
With Novak Djokovic being three behind now, he still has a good chance. With Rafa winning here now, it is probably giving him a couple of years to keep on going," Mats Wilander said.