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12 Nerdy Facts about Rafael Nadal’s triumphs at Roland-Garros

In our video, check out 12 nerdy facts you may not know about Rafael Nadal’s 12 victories at Roland-Garros

May 26, 2020
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1. He won Roland-Garros at his first attempt

In 2005, Nadal became the first player since Mats Wilander – crowned in 1982 – to win Roland-Garros on his very first appearance. He was 19 years old. 

2. First player to beat Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final

In 2006, Nadal faced Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final for the first time ever. The Spaniard was the first to defeat the Swiss at this stage (1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6). Federer was on a 7-win streak in Grand Slam finals.

Nadal Federer Roland-Garros 2006

3. Second player to win Roland-Garros three times in a row in the Open era

In 2007, Nadal won the tournament for the third consecutive time. He was the second player to achieve this hat-trick at Roland-Garros since the start of the Open era, emulating the achievement of Bjorn Borg.

4. Third Open era player to win Roland-Garros without conceding a set

In 2008, Nadal dominated the tournament from start to finish. He became the third Open era player to win Roland-Garros without conceding a single set, the first since Bjorn Borg in 1980.

5. First player to complete the clay-Grand Slam

On April 18, 2010, in Monte-Carlo; on May 2, 2010 in Rome; on May 16, 2010 in Madrid and on June 6, 2010, at Roland-Garros, Nadal completed the clay-Grand Slam – the four biggest clay-court events – which nobody had done since the Masters 1000s began in 1990. Nobody has done it since.

6. He won Roland-Garros as world No 1

In 2011, Nadal arrived at Roland-Garros as the world No 1 for the first time in his career. Nadal was thus only the second player since 1993 to win Roland-Garros as world No 1, after Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.

Nadal Roland-Garros 2011

7. Nadal raised the trophy on Monday

In 2012, Nadal did not lift the trophy on Sunday, for the second time since 2005. He won on Monday, against Novak Djokovic in a final that began the day before but which was interrupted because of rain with Nadal leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2. In 2009, he was defeated by Robin Söderling in the round of 16.

8. Set a new record for matches won at Roland-Garros

59 victories in only 9 appearances: in 2013, Nadal became the record holder in all-time victories at Roland-Garros, topping Federer (57) and Guillermo Vilas (56).

9. First player to win Roland-Garros five times in a row

In 2014, Nadal beat Djokovic in the final to become the first player in the history of the tournament to win it five times in a row. Nadal also became the first player in history to win Roland-Garros nine times, surpassing Max Decugis, who won the tournament eight times between 1903 and 1914.

10. He only lost 35 games

In 2017, three years after his last title at Roland-Garros, Nadal conceded only 35 games in 7 matches. Only Borg (32 games lost in the 1978 French Open) has done better in Grand Slams.

11. His sets streak came to an end

In 2018, Nadal’s streak of 38 consecutive sets won at Roland-Garros ended in his quarter-final against Diego Schwartzman. Only one player has done better: Borg, with 41 straight sets won between 1979 and 1981!

12. First player to win any Grand Slam 12 times

In 2019, Rafael Nadal became the first player to win 12 singles titles at the same Grand Slam tournament. The Spaniard overtook Margaret Court, the 11-time winner of the women’s Australian Open.

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