After winning the French Open for a remarkable 12th time, Rafael Nadal will seek a 19th Grand Slam title overall at Wimbledon this summer.
The Spaniard continued his dominance at Roland-Garros with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win in Sunday's final over Dominic Thiem. Success at SW19 would take him to within one major of Roger Federer, who Nadal beat in the semi-finals in Paris.
However, Nadal's previous Wimbledon win came nine years ago, and the competition will be fierce in London. In addition to Thiem and Federer, defending Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic will be the favourite for many having won three Grand Slam titles in a row prior to the French Open.
Read on for a review of the Roland-Garros showpiece and a preview of what's to follow.
Nadal Takes Momentum to Wimbledon yet Again
In sport, spells of dominance that last over a decade are rare. Yet Nadal has made success at Roland-Garros look easy since he won his first French Open title in 2005.
It's a testament to his determination and quality that he continues to pick up titles in Paris.
Here are the highlights of his latest success, as Nadal moved through the gears in the third and fourth sets to get the better of Thiem:
Nike posted the following clip charting the 33-year-old's journey to 18 Grand Slam titles:
The win for Nadal continues what is a fascinating battle between himself, Federer and Djokovic in the overall Grand Slam success stakes.
Djokovic's recent wins at the Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon took him to 15 in total, just five behind Federer. He'll likely go into Wimbledon as the favourite, although Nadal will know a triumph this summer will put him tantalisingly close to the Swiss, who many consider the greatest ever.
Despite the fact the three superstars have moved into what are expected to be the latter stages of their careers, they remain untouchable when it comes to the biggest events in tennis:
Nadal spoke about potentially closing the gap to Federer's 20 Grand Slam wins, but he said it's not a primary goal for him:
Improving his record at Wimbledon will be, though. If the Spaniard doesn't win the title this summer, it will extend his drought at SW19 to a decade, with his two wins coming in 2008—when he beat Federer in the final in arguably the greatest match of all time—and 2010.
He was much improved on the grass a year ago and was eventually eliminated by Djokovic in the semi-finals, with the eventual winner edging a five-set classic.
Per Christopher Clarey of the New York Times, Nadal appears keen to ensure he's in good condition for the upcoming tournament:
Whether that rest will help or hinder Nadal will be intriguing, especially since he has suffered early eliminations at Wimbledon in recent years—prior to 2018, he hadn't progressed past the fourth round since 2011.
Although Federer fell at the semi-finals to Nadal at the French Open, there were signs at the tournament that his game is in a good place. The veteran will be a different beast on grass, and with eight wins at Wimbledon under his belt, the Swiss has unrivalled winning experience on the famous courts.
On any surface other than clay, Djokovic has looked in a different league to the rest of the players in the men's game over the last year. With that in mind, the defending champion will be the man to beat in 2019 again.