Rafael Nadal, against Mariano Puerta on June 5, 2005, won his first Grand Slam and his first Roland Garros. 17 years later, not much has changed. He doesn't wear the cut sleeves or pirate pants of his youth. He is now a 36 year-old man, with all of the history of tennis behind. He is a tennis player who defied logic, medicine, and his own sport to break a record that was unbeatable.
It was unprecedented to win nine Grand Slam titles by one person. There were ten. And eleven. And twelve. And thirteen. It will continue on until he reaches fifteen. He won't be able to get it. But he will, as Nadal and Roland Garros are the most beautiful tennis stories, the most romantic ever written. This is the story that never ends and has one more chapter. It was June 5, 2017, 17 years since the first. Nadal defeated Casper Ruud (6-3 6-3 6-0) to win the 14th title in Paris, and the 20th Grand Slam overall.
Manacor's man puts more advantage over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who remain with 20. Roger Federer remains with 20. Roger Federer is also two away from Nadal. He also becomes the longest-lived player to win the Paris title, surpassing Andres Gimeno, who won it in 1972 at the age 34 years and ten.
He took his first bite of the trophy minutes before the other contenders. While the public was warming up, Ruud waited in the locker-room tunnel while Nadal and Nadal did the same. The Norwegian was stunned by the situation and adjusted his clothes to make the final against Nadal at Roland Garros. Balearic was, however, already moving like a locomotive. The Balearic was able to move up and down the hall doing jumps and sprints. The Norwegian looked with the same terror as a fan watching a bullfighter unleash the animal.
Any hope that the Norwegian was not faking it, vanished as soon as the match started. Nadal, looking at the sky and facing the possibility of rain, unleashed his torrent of tennis against Ruud, who was pressing against the backcourt. He was constantly punished for his weakest shot, the backhand.
The Spaniard was a master at tactics and pushed Ruud towards this blow. He barely managed to connect the right where the Oslo man is better. Ruud lost interest and games began to fall. He was only able to get hooked up again after a Nadal match with two double faults, and two other gross mistakes.
Clay is a normal surface and 'breaks' can happen. Nadal did not take the break that he suffered in the first, which was closed by a strong 6-3. He also didn't miss the break that landed him at 1-3 in the second. Ruud saw something that has almost never been seen in history, and served for 1-4. In the 13 finals Nadal has played in Paris, he has lost only seven sets. The eighth set was not possible even with Ruud’s advantage.
The next five games were won by Nadal, who took the second set 6-3. He also did not lose a single match. The third set proved that Ruud did not have a chance to win this match. He won the second set 6-3 and didn't lose a single game. Ruud acknowledged that he was just one of many victims, and that others have been through the same thing as me.
Nadal completed the final with a backhand to his line. This was his third 'donut" in a Roland Garros Final, following the one he took to Federer in 2008, and the one he won to Djokovic in 2020. He also added one title to the greatest record in the Great of all time. 14 Roland Garros. 2 Wimbledon. 2 Australian Open. 4 US Open. He has 22 Majors and he is now one point behind Federer and Djokovic.
This is the record for the greatest athlete in Spain's history, in this sport, and in all of Olympus sport. He was 36 years old when he left Rome, limping, 20 days ago. Raphael is amazing.