Rafael Nadal made his Roland Garros debut in 2005 at 18 and wished to celebrate the 19th birthday in the French capital. After conquering Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome earlier that spring, the young Spaniard was already among the world's best clay-courters and Roland Garros favorites.
In Paris, Rafa proved his quality after defeating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to embrace tennis glory and become the last teenager with a Major trophy. Nadal has been the player to beat at his beloved Major in the next 15 years, winning 13 titles and scoring 100 wins from 102 encounters!
The fellow Spaniard and Roland Garros winner Juan Carlos Ferrer calls Rafa the greatest Roland Garros player in history, with no one standing close to him on that list. Nadal claimed nine Roland Garros triumphs between 2005-15, suffering the only loss in 2009 against Robin Soderling and standing firm in the remaining years to enter the record books and become the greatest clay-courter ever.
After a tough couple of years in 2015 and 2016, Nadal was back at his best in 2017, securing four consecutive Roland Garros crowns to improve his tally and extend the unmatched dominance! Nadal's 13th Roland Garros crown came in October, with the Spaniard toppling all seven opponents in straight sets and challenging conditions to secure the 20th Major title.
Juan Carlos Ferrero praised Rafael Nadal as the greatest Roland Garros competitor.
Dealing with cold and rainy weather, Rafa experienced the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, letting nothing of that taking his thunder and standing above the entire field to secure the fourth Major trophy without losing a set at 34.
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 the young Italian Jannik Sinner, overpowering a teenager 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 for the 13th Roland Garros final. Wanting the title badly after a plagued season, 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.
"Rafael Nadal is the greatest player in Roland Garros history; there's no one even close to him," Juan Carlos Ferrero said.