August 20, 2022

How much more history can Rafael Nadal write?

After all, Nadal is already the all-time leader of Grand Slam men’s singles titles with 21 and 13 of them at Roland Garros. Yet the answer to the above question can be a lot After. Even at 36, it looks like Nadal still has enough in the tank and he has a golden chance on Sunday to lift La Coupe des Mousquetaires again.

What would another triumph mean for the Spaniard both immediately and in the long term? Let’s take a look at what’s at stake in the 2022 French Open championship match between Nadal and Casper Ruud.

Undefeated in the Roland-Garros final, Nadal aims for the 14th title

Nadal’s numbers on Paris clay are just ridiculous. His overall match record is 111-3, including a perfect 13-0 in the final. Although he is known as the king of clay, Nadal is currently the king of everything. His victory at the Australian Open earlier this season earned him 21 Grand Slam titles, putting him atop the men’s singles all-time list as a solo leader – one ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Another title on Sunday would only increase his incredible records at Roland Garros and in Grand Slams overall.

Factoring in the women, a 22nd Slam title for Nadal would tie Steffi Graf and put him one shy of Serena Williams (23) while two behind Margaret Court (24).

A loss, of course, would also be part of the story. Nadal has never lost in the Roland-Garros final; not once in his first 13 finals was he even pushed to five sets. Six of his wins have come in straight sets and the other seven have come in fours.

Nadal is looking to become the oldest and halfway Grand Slam champion of the calendar year for the first time

Nadal is the second oldest men’s singles finalist at Roland Garros, younger than Bill Tilden (1930). If he wins on Sunday, he will become the oldest men’s singles champion at Roland-Garros. Fellow Spaniard Andres Gimeno is currently the oldest; he was 34 years and 9 months old when he won the title in 1972. Nadal is 36 years and 0 months old (his birthday was a Friday); he was 34 years and 4 months old for his last success in Paris (2020, when the event was held in the fall because of the Covid-19 pandemic).

There aren’t many early achievements Nadal can make at this stage of his illustrious career, but there is always a first for Something. For Nadal, he can make it halfway through a calendar year Grand Slam – something that has never been done before. It’s true; he never won the Australian Open and the French Open in the same season. Until 2022, Nadal’s only triumph at Melbourne Park was in 2009. Later that year he suffered his first-ever French Open loss (to Robin Soderling in the fourth round).

It would only be the third time in his career that Nadal has won back-to-back major tournaments. He’s done it before in 2008 (Roland-Garros and Wimbledon) and 2010 (he actually won three consecutively that year: Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open).

Regardless of Sunday’s result, Nadal will become the third man in the Open Era to reach 30 slam singles finals (Djokovic and Federer both have 31).

What would a title mean for Nadal in the GOAT race with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer?

Although Nadal still insists he’s not particularly interested in the greatest debate of all time, he might want to change his mind if he wins on Sunday. After all, winning the No. 22 Grand Slam would put him two ahead of Djokovic and Federer. Djokovic is 35 and his status for the future Australian Open is a question mark as he is not vaccinated. Federer is 40 years old, there is no guarantee that he will ever return to official ATP Tour competition.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Roland Garros 2006

“We’ve played in the most important events, in the most important matches for many years, and it’s always special to play against each other,” Nadal said of his rivalry with Djokovic after the win. in Tuesday’s quarter-final against the world No.

“Between Novak, Roger, myself, we have an incredible history together going head-to-head in the most important matches for so long. It makes things more special and more emotional.

“Of course there is always a conversation about which player finishes with the most slams or who is the best in history, but from my point of view it does not matter much. We realized our dreams; we made history in this sport because we did things that hadn’t happened before. So (it doesn’t matter) which player (will) end up with the most slams or (be) the best in history, because the level of [us] three is very equal. (There) isn’t much difference, so (it) doesn’t matter.

What would a title mean for the rest of Nadal’s 2022 season?

There were conflicting reports earlier this week regarding Nadal’s status for Wimbledon. The Spanish newspaper Mark reported that the world number 5 would not play, but his PR quickly refuted such a claim and said no decision had been made.

Although Nadal doesn’t want to push his schedule too much in the wake of his chronic foot injury, he might be tempted to play at Wimbledon if the calendar year Grand Slam is still a possibility. After all, as mentioned above, this would be his first time winning the first two majors in a calendar year. And with Federer and all the Russians, a Wimbledon title would be well within reach.