'Rafael Nadal should play Roland Garros with a wooden spoon,' jokes Tommy Haas

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'Rafael Nadal should play Roland Garros with a wooden spoon,' jokes Tommy Haas

Rafael Nadal's Roland Garros records have been recognized as one of the most incredible tennis world achievements. Nadal has won 13 Roland Garros titles from 16 trips to Paris, winning 100 out of 102 encounters and dominating like no one before him at a single Major.

A couple of days ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas joked that Nadal should be banned from competing at Roland Garros. The latest funny acknowledgment of Rafa's incredible Paris record came from the former world no. 2 Tommy Haas. The Indian Wells tournament director stepped on the court with a wooden spoon, hit some balls, and suggested Rafa replace the racquet with a similar one and try to win the Roland Garros.

After skipping the clay Major in 2003 and 2004 due to injuries, Nadal debuted in Paris in 2005 and turned it into an instant success, winning the title just after turning 19 to become the last teenager with a Major crown.

Rafa defended the crown three times before Robin Soderling stunned him in the fourth round in 2009. The Spaniard restored the order from 2010, conquering five consecutive titles in Paris and standing on nine Major crowns in the French capital in the previous ten years!

In his most challenging 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 in 2015 and withdrawing a year. 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.

Rafael Nadal has won 13 Roland Garros titles in the past 13 seasons.

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 last October, determined to win another title and join Roger Federer on 20 Major crowns.

Dealing with cold and rainy weather, new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal bested 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 scoring a 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 triumph in just under three hours. In the semis, Diego Schwartzman kept Nadal on the court for over three hours and had a chance in the third set before Rafa prevailed 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 and advanced to his 13th Roland Garros final, 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 rallies and bringing the victory home for a massive celebration of the 20th Major crown.