Rafael Nadal dominated David Ferrer on Sunday to capture his eighth career French Open title. Unfortunately, this will not lead to more success in the 2013 season.
The Spanish superstar did prove once again that he is the best clay-court player in history. His 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over his compatriot gave him the most championships at any single Grand Slam ever, according to SportsCenter:
KING OF ROLAND GARROS! Rafael Nadal takes 8th French Open championship. Rafa is 1st man EVER to win 8 titles at same Grand Slam event.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 9, 2013
While he came into the tournament with only a few doubts over whether his knee would hold up after such a long absence, he quieted these concerns by once again finishing on top. The problem is that he will likely have a harder time once he starts competing in non-clay tournaments.
Nadal was supposed to win this event. He has only one career loss at Roland Garros and had the momentum of winning three tournaments in a row heading into the Grand Slam. He is clearly the best active player on clay, and few had enough experience of competing at a high level to even challenge him.
Still, he struggled just enough to make people concerned heading into the rest of the year.
In the semifinals, Novak Djokovic gave Nadal as tough of a match as the Spaniard has received in a long time at the French Open. The two elite players battled for over four-and-a-half hours in a five-set match, with Nadal finally coming out on top in the final set by a score of 9-7.
The crazy part is that this took place on Djokovic's worst surface compared to Nadal's best over the course of each player's career. Nadal actually has a .931 career winning percentage on clay, according to ATP World Tour. And yet, the Serbian player took him to five sets at Roland Garros and even beat him on the surface earlier in the year.
How many Grand Slam titles will Rafael Nadal win this season?
Imagine what will happen when the two compete on grass and even hard courts, where the No. 1 player in the world feels much more comfortable.
Nadal has built up an incredible record this season at 43-2, although this is clearly inflated due to his choice of tournaments. He has only participated in one event this year (Indian Wells) that was not on clay.
When the grass-court season picks up, expect a whole bunch of new challengers to emerge. Not only will Djokovic be tough to beat, but Roger Federer also remains a top contender after winning last year's Wimbledon. Additionally, Andy Murray will also be a tough out after he returns from his back injury.
Each of these men won a Grand Slam title in the past year. Meanwhile, Nadal has not won a major championship outside of Roland Garros since 2011. There is simply too much competition to believe he will break that streak this year.
It is clear that Nadal is the best player in the world when it comes to clay. Unfortunately, that fact does not make him the best overall. After such a great start to the season, he is likely to struggle for the remainder of the year.
Although he will do well enough to reach a semifinal or two, there is little chance he wins another Grand Slam this season. In reality, it will be tough to get more than a couple of titles in any tournament for the remainder of the year.
Fans hoping for an overall resurgence of the all-time great are certain to be disappointed going forward.
Rob Goldberg is a member of Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team. Follow him on Twitter for the latest updates.