The two-time Major semi-finalist and the ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas came with a perfect solution for one of the most challenging tasks in the world of tennis. The young Greek knows how to beat Rafael Nadal at his Roland Garros kingdom, as he would forbid the 13-time champion from competing in Paris!
Answering Twitter questions, Tsitsipas mentioned Nadal when asked about one thing he would ban, joking with the 20-time Major winner and highlighting his dominance at the clay Major. Nadal made a debut in Paris in 2005 and 18 and won the title a couple of days following the 19th birthday, beating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to become the last teenager with a Major trophy.
Nadal had stood strong in Paris in the next three years before experiencing the first loss to Robin Soderling in 2009, restoring the order between 2010-2014 to write history books as the most dominant male player at a single Major tournament.
In his toughest years on the Tour, Rafa stayed empty-handed in Paris in 2015 and 2016, losing the second match at his beloved event to Novak Djokovic and withdrawing a year later to hand the trophies to Wawrinka and Djokovic.
Starting all over from 2017, Nadal lost only three sets in the previous four years in Paris, extending his reign and achieving many records that should remain unmatched for good. Heading to Roland Garros with only three matches in his legs since February, Rafa had to dig deep to beat the rivals and conditions in Paris in October, determined to win another title and join Roger Federer on 20 Major crowns.
Stefanos Tsitsipas knows how to end Rafael Nadal's Roland Garros reign.
Dealing with cold and rainy weather, new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal toppled all seven opponents in straight sets and played well above the rest of the field to lift another Roland Garros title, the 13th in 16 trips to Paris!
Settling into an excellent rhythm, Rafa lost only 23 games in the opening four matches to sail into the quarters, crumbling the rivals on both serve and return and gaining confidence ahead of more challenging encounters.
The Spaniard had to give his best against the young Italian Jannik Sinner in the quarter-final, trailing in sets one and two before prevailing 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 in just under three hours. In the semis, Diego Schwartzman kept Nadal on the court for three hours before Rafa scored a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 victory, advancing to his 13th Roland Garros final and facing Novak Djokovic in the title clash.
Saving his best tennis for the most formidable opponent, Rafa toppled Novak 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes, controlling the pace all the time and bringing the victory home for a massive celebration of the 20th Major crown.