In one of the most extraordinary feats in the history of tennis, Rafael Nadal won the French Open for the eighth time. As a result, Nadal moved into the ranks of history, becoming the only player to win the same Grand Slam event on eight separate occasions.
More importantly, Nadal solidified his status as the best player in the world.
It wasn't quite the smooth sailing we'd come to expect, as he lost four sets during his run to the title. That wouldn't be too concerning for another player, as winning the gold is all that matters, but some have been skeptical after Daniel Brands and Martin Klizan stole a set from Nadal.
Winning the French Open puts an end to those concerns.
This was yet another chapter in Nadal's marvelous road to success, as he's become the star of the 2013 season. Not only was he dominant at the French Open, but he's been all but untouchable throughout the course of the season.
It's time we acknowledge that Nadal is back on top of the mountain.
With the win, Nadal moved to 43-2 on the year and earned his seventh title since the 2013 campaign began. By comparison, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have won five titles combined in 2013.
Who is the best tennis player in the world?
The numbers never lie—Nadal is the best of 2013.
Thus far, Nadal has won the Brasil Open, Abierto Mexicano Telcel, BNP Paribas Open, Barcelona Open, Madrid Open, Rome Masters and French Open. In that time, he's defeated the likes of Djokovic, Federer, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro and Stanislaw Wawrinka.
Seriously, what more could you ask for?
Furthermore, Nadal has won 22 consecutive matches and appears all but untouchable at this stage of the year. While some will claim that his success on clay is unsurprising, there is no individual on the ATP Tour as dominant as Nadal.
No matter where they play.
The Ranks of History
As previously alluded to, Rafael Nadal has set a record for the most titles held at one Grand Slam event. With eight French Open titles, he's proven to be the greatest clay court champion in the history of professional tennis.
We can go on with the warranted, factual hyperbole—so we will.
Not only has Nadal conquered the French Open, but he's moved into a tie for third all time in Grand Slam tournaments won. He's currently won 12, with eight at Roland Garros, two at Wimbledon and one at both the U.S. Open and Australian Open.
At 27, Nadal certainly has the potential to catch Pete Sampras at 14 and, potentially, Roger Federer with 17 Grand Slam titles.
Nadal just so happens to be approaching Wimbledon, where he's won twice and can secure a third victory. Keep in mind, Nadal has reached the Wimbledon final five times in the past seven years, which suggests he'll be right back in the hunt.
Until that happens, we're safe by acknowledging the truth—Nadal is the best player in the world.