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Incomparable Rafael Nadal cements place in history, extends his lead in Grand Slam race

The 36-year-old racked up another set of records with a phenomenal 14th Roland-Garros win and 22nd Grand Slam title in all

Rafael Nadal, Roland-Garros 2022 Rafael Nadal, Roland-Garros 2022 – © JB Autissier / Panoramic

There will surely never be another like him.

For the 14th time in his career, Rafael Nadal lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires over his head after clinching yet another French Open title. It’s his 22nd Grand Slam title, putting him further clear of the rest and the Spaniard continues to rewrite the history books.

Here’s a look at some of the records he’s achieved.

Nada’s 14th Roland-Garros title

Exactly 17 years after his first French Open triumph, Nadal’s 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Casper Ruud of Norway gave him Roland-Garros title No 14, a number hardly possible to take in.

Most people don’t get to play in one Grand Slam event 14 times, it takes such longevity and quality to be around that long at the top level. To win the same slam event – and for it to be the French Open on the most demanding of surfaces -14 times is verging on the ridiculous.

What’s more, the Spaniard has now won the title five times in the past six years, five times since he turned 30, an age when champions in past generations had often long put away their racquets. Despite injuries, he shows no sign of giving in just yet. “I don’t know what will happen in the future but I’ll keep fighting to keep on going,” he said.

Grand Slam title No 22 puts him further ahead in GOAT race

The question of who ends up being considered the GOAT of men’s tennis – the greatest of all time – will not come down solely to the number of Grand Slam titles they each have won but Nadal’s win in Paris moves him two clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic with 22.

His win at the Australian Open in January was something of a surprise but that he was able to win another Roland-Garros title means he now has an advantage that could prove decisive, even if Djokovic, in particular, could yet overhaul him.

Of the 22, 14 have come in Paris, two in Australia, two at Wimbledon and four in New York. What price a third Wimbledon title next month?

Oldest French Open men’s champion in history

For 50 years, Andres Gimeno has held the record as the oldest man to win Roland-Garros in the Open era.

But Nadal’s win over Ruud means he now holds that record, at 36 years and two days old.

He’s also now the third-oldest Grand Slam men’s champion in the Open era, behind Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer.

Nadal halfway to calendar-year Grand Slam

It’s almost got lost amid a lot of other record talk but Nadal is now halfway to the calendar-year Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

When he won the Australian Open in 2009, he lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in Paris, ending any thoughts of winning all four slams in the same year. His win in Melbourne in January was just his second Australian Open win and now he’s won in Paris, he is halfway there.

At 36, it’s still a long way off, particularly with his chronic left foot issues and the last man to do it was Rod Laver in 1969, though Novak Djokovic came within one match of completing it himself last year, only to fall to Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Nadal now 14-0 in Roland-Garros finals, 112-3 overall

When Nadal gets to the final at Roland-Garros, the opponent could be forgiven if he thought about throwing in the towel even before it’s begun.

That’s because Nadal is now 14-0 in finals on the clay in Paris and he’s never dropped more than a set in any of them.

He’s also now 112-3 at Roland-Garros in his entire career. The only men to beat him are Novak Djokovic, twice, in 2015 and 2021 and Robin Soderling in 2009.

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