Rafael Nadal has long-established himself as the premiere clay court player in all of tennis. The 26-year-old Spaniard won his seventh French Open title in the past eight years Monday, tying Chris Evert for the most all time.
With seven of his eleven grand slam titles coming at Roland Garros, it is time to bring into question how many French Open titles Nadal will win in his career.
Not even the great Roger Federer during his dominant reign from 2006 to 2008 could deter Nadal on clay, losing in three straight French Open finals to the one called "Rafa."
This year's title was particularly impressive for Nadal as this was the third time he has denied a player's pursuit to win four straight major titles, doing so in 2006 and 2007 against Federer, followed by Monday's win against the world's No.1 Novak Djokovic.
The question is: will anyone defeat Nadal at Roland Garros?
If I were a betting man, I would certainly never wager against Rafa at the French Open in any year until about 2020, but he will be upset at some point.
Looking ahead, players generally begin to decline in their late 20's to early 30's, as displayed by Roger Federer at age 30, who is still the third best player in the world, but has lost his sheer dominance at the age of 30.
Nadal is currently 26 years-old.
Ideally, the Spaniard has about five years of high-caliber tennis left.
Judging by the way Nadal has absolutely owned the clay courts, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that he could win every French Open from now through 2017.
At the same time, those are astronomically small odds, considering the unpredictability of tennis with injuries and the consistently world-class competition.
When it is all said and done for Nadal, he will finish with ten French Open titles, a number that will likely never again be reached if he can indeed achieve it.
Nadal certainly wants to have the French Open titles record to himself, and his eighth French Open is all but a lock.
Obviously, it is difficult to speculate how Nadal's career will play out, but he has already cemented his place in history as one of the greatest tennis players to step onto a court, grass or clay.
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