Any sports fan can attest to Rafael Nadal’s dominance in the sport of tennis, especially in clay court tournaments. Nadal, often referred to by avid fans as “Rafa”, has established his name as one that will be remembered years from now with his incredible accomplishments in tennis.
Although Rafa has seen a recent lack of titles as his world ranking has slipped from #1 to #5, he undoubtedly has a chance at this year’s French Open. All eyes will be upon Nadal as he attempts to make history next month. Here are three reasons why he will do it.
He has the advantage.
The French Open has historically been Nadal’s turf. Nadal’s clay court advantage over other superpowers in the sport like Federer and Djokovic is evident in the amount of titles he has won on the red surface. Not to mention the 29-year-old has already won the French Open itself nine (NINE!) times. Only one other player, Bjorn Borg, has reached six French Open titles in the Open Era. A tenth French Open title is unheard of, yet is well within the capabilities of the Spaniard.
He has momentum.
Nadal hasn’t won the French Open since 2014, but his 2016 play is showing the flashes of old. Injuries have plagued Rafa in recent years, but this year he is as healthy as ever as the tournament nears. Here is the scary part: he is also as good as ever. Nadal boasts a 10-0 record in his last 10 European clay matches – all without dropping a single set. He is coming off title wins at Monte Carlo AND Barcelona for the first time since 2012. What else happened in 2012? That’s right…a French Open title.
He’s chasing history.
Not only does he have a chance at extending his tournament dominance, he has a chance at breaking a record. Nadal’s victory at Barcelona moved him up to a tie for first with Guillermo Vilas for most clay court titles at 49. With his historical advantage at the tournament and his recent form, he’s in the perfect position to capture number 50.
French Open play begins May 22. Expect to see Rafael Nadal lifting a familiar trophy on June 5. Let’s watch history.