Rafael Nadal has competed in 34 Major semi-finals, losing only six matches and advancing into 28 finals. Battling against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in most of those, Nadal had to give his best to draw 20 crowns from that many title matches, securing his place among tennis immortals a long time ago.
Alongside his incredible fighting spirit and an unmatched will to improve his game regularly, Nadal's mental aspect has been second to none. The Spaniard has suffered some severe losses over the years but also some remarkable wins where he stood with his back against the wall, pushing even harder and finding the way to cross the finish line first.
Nadal demonstrated his massive mental strength at Roland Garros in the previous two weeks, dealing with cold and rainy weather, new Wilson balls and a roof above his head. Ready to find the solutions, the Spaniard responded by raising his level to an even more efficient level, lifting the trophy without losing a set and writing record books once again.
Nadal's former Davis Cup teammate David Ferrer said Nadal is the most formidable player to beat in the entire history of tennis when we speak about the mental element, praising his countryman while stating he can always find the right solutions.
Competing in one of the most important matches of the new Millenium, Rafael Nadal claimed the 13th Roland Garros crown against Novak Djokovic on Sunday. The Spaniard produced a rock-solid performance in his kingdom on Court Philippe-Chatrier, toppling the great rival 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes for the 20th Major crown that ties Roger Federer's ultimate record.
Nadal had 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, performing strongly from both wings and taking 51% of the return points to control the scoreboard with the aggressive approach. Novak sprayed 52 unforced errors, not finding his well-known tennis and struggling to impose his strokes in the most crucial moments.
David Ferrer believes that Rafael Nadal is mentally the strongest player ever.
Rafa lost serve once, which was never enough for Novak, who left his mighty return in the locker room and had no idea how to deal with the opponent who demolished him in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.
Just like in 2008 against Roger Federer, Nadal delivered a bagel to Djokovic in the opening set, playing almost flawless tennis for a massive lead. Rafa faced no break points in set number two, taming his strokes nicely and outplaying Novak on the return for another mighty impressive set of tennis and a 6-0, 6-2 advantage after an hour and 34 minutes.
Eager to avoid disaster, Djokovic saved a break point in the third game of the third set and raised his level. Rafa broke him at love in game five and gave the serve away for the first and only time a few minutes later, producing a necessary boost for Djokovic that made the Serb a contender again.
With no room for errors in his games, Nadal held comfortably in the rest of the clash, earning a break at 5-5 after a double fault from Novak and sealing the deal with a hold at love to celebrate the 20th Major title. "With everything he has achieved, Rafael Nadal is already among the greatest players ever.
Still, we must also add the mental aspect of his game, which makes him the strongest player who has ever played tennis. There is no one like him, no one who handles those moments of pressure so well for so many years," David Ferrer said.