Who will be accorded the title of the greater French Open champion––Bjorn Borg or Rafael Nadal? Before you go rushing off to grasp your well-oiled pens, think about the question for a moment.
Both the stoic Swede and the red-hot Rafa dominated on the red dirt making most opponents concede defeat before they even set foot on the red clay to win the elusive title––the holy grail of Stade Roland Garros.
Of course, Nadal is still an active player and Borg retired in essence 30 years ago. So Nadal is still adding to his totals. Borg played eight years in total in Paris, and so far Nadal has played six, about to play his seventh in two weeks.
As we look at these two giants on clay, it is important to realize that in early days, years 1973-1975, the French Open played a best of three format for the first two rounds. The other rounds, third through the finals, returned to best of five. Borg, in some instances, had to play fewer matches––a scant footnote.
Also, during the time Borg played, the French Open seeded only the top 16 players. During Nadal's tenure, the French Open seeds the top 32.
Borg won six out of eight French Open Tournaments. So far, Nadal has won five out of six French Opens he has entered. The Swede's overall winning percentage at the French is 96.08 while Nadal's rests currently at 97.44.
But, Nadal is still playing at age 24 and shows no signs of leaving the game. Borg left the game at age 25. By winning one more title at the French, Nadal will equal Borg in total French Open championships.
As we look at their respective campaigns and gauge the number of sets, games and the number of top-seeded opponents they faced, it becomes fairly obvious that the two remain in a dead heat so far.