Rafael Nadal made his Roland Garros debut in 2005 at 18. After conquering Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome that spring, the young Spaniard was already among the best clay-courters in the world, entering Roland Garros as one of the favorites.
Rafa proved that in Paris, defeating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta in the semis and final to embrace tennis glory and become the last teenager with a Major trophy. Between 2005-2014, Nadal claimed nine Roland Garros triumphs, suffering only one loss in 2009 against Robin Soderling and standing strong in the remaining years to enter the record books and become the greatest clay-courter who has ever lived.
After a tough couple of years in 2015 and 2016, Nadal returned at his best in 2017, securing four consecutive Roland Garros crowns to improve his tally to 13 trophies and a 100-2 score! Former Roland Garros winner and world no.
2 Simona Halep believes that Nadal can win three or four more titles in Paris, dominating the clay Major like no one before and passing all the obstacles that stand in his way. Nadal's 13th Roland Garros crown came in October, with the Spaniard overcoming all seven opponents in straight sets and tough conditions to secure the 20th Major title and extend his reign.
Dealing with cold and rainy weather, Rafa also experienced the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, letting none of that stealing his thunder and standing above the entire field to secure the fourth Major trophy without losing a set.
Simona Halep praised Rafael Nadal and his Roland Garros records.
Nadal passed the opening four rounds without breaking a sweat, preserving energy for more formidable rivals. In the quarters, the Spaniard trailed in both the first and second set against Jannik Sinner, overpowering the youngster in the crucial moments to enter the semis.
In his longest match of the tournament, Rafa ousted Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 in over three hours, struggling a bit in the third set but winning the tie break 7-0 to find himself in the 13th Roland Garros final. Wanting the title badly, Nadal defeated world no.
1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes to lift the 20th Major crown and join Roger Federer at the top of the GOAT race. The Spaniard lost serve once and stood all over the Serb on the return, destroying him in the opening two sets and prevailing in the third to clinch the 100th Roland Garros win.
"I firmly believe that Rafael Nadal will win more Roland Garros titles; it's his home. The conditions were tough for him this year, and he still didn't lose a set. I can see him winning the Parisian titles for a couple of more years," Simona Halep said.