Nadal creates history

Rafael Nadal created history on Sunday after he beat World no.1 Novak Djokovic to win record extending 13th French Open title.He now goes level with Swiss great Roger Federer for most Grand Slam titles at 20.One sided finalNadal once again showed his class on his favourite surface as he swept aside challenge of Novak Djokovic winning 6-0,6-2,7-5 in the final played under closed roof at Court Phillippe Chatrier.King of Clay thrashed Djoker in the first two sets with his solid serve and great defensive skills behind the baseline.His lethal forehand also worked in the final causing plenty of problems to the Serbian.Nadal was so dominant that he lost his serve only once during the match whereas Djokovic lost his own 7 times.Nadal as usual was hitting groundstrokes with high speed which Djokovic could not retrieve at times.Djokovic made too many unforced errors and had no clue to Nadal’s tactics.Finally,Novak suffered his only loss in a competitive game this season.That too with history at stake for both players as Djokovic could have become only second man in Open era to win all four majors twice in his career.He succumbed to pressure while Nadal came up trumps in his 28th Grand Slam final.Key factorNadal skipped the hard court events which resumed tennis season after Covid-19 pandemic.Rafa opted out of US Open despite being defending champion.That proved a good decision as he got enough time to prepare for French Open which started just 15 days post US Open.More significant is the fact that he didn’t had to adjust  from playing on hard courts to playing on clay surface in a short period of time as most players who performed well at US Open could not find rhythm on Parisian clay either due to drop in energy levels or form.Both finalists at US Open went down in quarterfinals at Roland Garros.StatsRafael Nadal has now won record 100 matches at Roland Garros.He has lost only two while also winning 92% of sets at French Open since 2005.He has also won 67%of games plus 58% of points at his beloved venue.Only 3 players have beaten Nadal 3 or more times on Clay.Rampant Nadal added another feather to his cap as he became the first man to win four Grand Slams without dropping a set.He won his 86th ATP title which lies him into fourth place overall.What next?Federer held the top spot in major titles since 2009.In 2015-2016 when Rafa was suffering with injuries ,missing tennis action,no one could have predicted Rafa would come close to Federer.But in 2020,destiny comes reality for Nadal.He can now hope for more wins in 2021.Surely,Nadal comes from a different planet.He is so special.Many experts will now include Nadal in ‘Greatest of All Time’.Hats off to a legend.

By Shailesh Padhye I

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