The King of Clay is just getting started.
After gutting out an epic semifinals win over No. 1 player in the world and top rival Novak Djokovic, Nadal easily dispatched David Ferrer in the men's final, winning in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. Upon winning the match point, Nadal fell to the ground, overcome with emotion, as shown by Roland Garros:
Nadal has always been an emotionally charged athlete, and he treasures winning above all else.
Even after winning his record eighth French Open, he remained focused on the rest of the season, saying, "I need to keep winning if I want to have any chance at being No. 1 at the end of the season," per Roland Garros.
He went on to talk about goals, saying, "Sport without a goal is stupid," via Roland Garros:
Clearly, not only is Nadal an emotional athlete, but he's one who isn't satisfied with his accomplishments—even as significant as they are.
Since returning to action after missing seven months while recovering from a knee injury, Nadal has been nearly impossible to defeat. He has only lost two matches out of 45 since February, and he doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
After Nadal defeated Ferrer, ESPN Stats & Info posted a staggering bit of information, showing Nadal's record at Roland Garros to be 59-1—the best of all time at the French Open:
Rafael Nadal improves to 59-1 all-time in the French Open. The 59 career match wins are the most in event history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 9, 2013
The most significant stat of all may be Nadal's age.
He's just 27 years old—in the prime of his life—and has already won 12 total Grand Slam titles.
Serena Williams is playing better now, at the age of 31, than she ever has.
Nadal will finish his career with ___ Grand Slam titles.
With proper care and conditioning (and assuming he doesn't get injured again), it's not inconceivable to think Nadal will be playing at a high level for at least five more years.
Nadal's conditioning since coming back from his knee injuries has been otherworldly. He was able to outlast Djokovic in a match that took over 4.5 hours, and then came back after just one day's rest to wipe out Ferrer in straight sets.
As impressive as Nadal's feats have been to this point in his career, he's far from finished. Should he remain healthy, it's clear his best days are still ahead of him, and he has an excellent chance to win more Grand Slam titles than any other man in the history of tennis.
Roland Garros asked an interesting question after Nadal's eighth title in nine years:
What do you think?
Will Nadal continue mowing down opponents at Roland Garros, or has he plateaued?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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