Rafael Nadal's Historic French Open Run Best Streak Tennis Has Ever Seen
How would you like to be Robin Soderling?
The Swede defeated Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the 2009 French Open in rather routine fashion 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6.
It was the only loss Nadal has ever suffered at Roland Garros, and after defeating Novak Djokovic to capture his seventh career French Open title Monday, he now sports an unheard of 52-1 mark in the tournament.
Combine that with a 75-1 mark on a clay surface in best-of-five matches and we are witnessing the most dominant streak of any athlete in sports today. Certainly in the history of tennis
Nadal glides on the clay like a skater, using his prolific foot speed and balance to catch up to any ball hit within the boundaries. It’s truly remarkable to watch him operate with such relative ease.
The No. 1 ranked player in the world Djokovic recognizes as much (via USA Today):
He's definitely (the) best player in history, I mean, on this surface, and results are showing that he's one of the best ever players that played this game.
I’m not here to say Rafa has had a better career than Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi or Bjorn Borg, but he sure has at the French Open.
Speaking of Borg, he is the only player that compares to Nadal at the event. He won four straight French Open titles in the 70s and has six overall—which is now one behind Nadal’s seven. The only distinction he holds over Rafa is a streak of five straight titles at Wimbledon (Sampras had four).
But we must remember the time we live in today.
The ATP schedule has never been more grueling on one’s body, and the competition has never been greater as more and more countries begin to play the game. It’s not as easy to win as it was back when Borg was playing almost 40 years ago.
It’s Nadal’s ability to beat anybody on the surface that makes him so special. Djokoivc was looking to go for the Grand Slam sweep, and was denied by Rafa. Ditto for Federer in 2006 and 2007. It doesn’t matter how hot an opponent is or how cold Nadal may be, winning the French Open is a foregone conclusion for him right now.
When you know the outcome before it happens, that’s the sign of greatness and while some are surely sick of his reign, I think fans should enjoy it. They are witnessing history.
Only Soderling has the bragging rights to say he has beaten the “King of Clay” on his royal surface.
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