It’s mindboggling, what Rafa Nadal has done at Roland-Garros.
Incomprehensible! How do you explain his 11 titles in 14 editions at the French Open, or an incredible 86 victories against just 2 losses?
His only blemish was in 2009 to Robin Sodeling in the fourth round and 6 years later, to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. The former came as a rude shock. Perhaps, a little reminder that the Spanish Bull was in fact, human. For the latter, fitness was an issue.
Setting that aside, this man, born in Manacor, has swept clean the red dirt of Paris. From leaving Roger Federer dejected at the Stade Roland Garros in the mid-noughties, to unleashing terror on packed fields through the years.
Last year, it was Stan Wawrinka, the Burly Swiss, who was the victim as the Spaniard clinched the historic La Decima. Nadal, irrespective of your size, gets you mentally exhausted and spent here until you give up. And on Sunday, Dominic Thiem experienced that in his first major final.
The 24-year-old had boldly stated going into the final match that he had a plan. Well, “everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face.” True to that, after losing the first set, the famed Prince of Clay completely crumbled. 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 was how it ended and it was an eleventh French Open crown for Nadal. Nothing measures up to that.
He clocked 32 recently; apparently, still at the peak of his powers. And he doesn’t plan on slowing down.
“You can always improve something, I think that everyone can improve,” he said. “There is no limit. You never know where is the limit.”
The King of Clay wants to improve? It’s over!