Fully aware of his greatness, Rafael Nadal still refuses to call on the GOAT race between him, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nadal claimed the 20th Major crown at the last year's Roland Garros, joining Roger Federer at the top of the record books.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic won three Major titles in 2021 to follow his greatest rivals, looking good to pass them at some point in 2022. Nadal had to dig deep to secure the 20th Major crown in October last year, spending six months off the court and playing only three matches between March and the end of September!
Skipping Cincinnati and the US Open, Nadal trained on clay at home in Mallorca, making a return in Rome and losing to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final. Heading to Roland Garros with only three matches in his legs since the end of February, Nadal raised his level and passed all the obstacles to lift the 13th trophy in Paris and join Roger on 20 Majors.
Rafa beat all seven opponents in straight sets, achieving that for the fourth time in Paris and becoming the second-oldest Roland Garros champion at 34! Nadal's 100th Roland Garros victory from 102 encounters came in the title match against Novak Djokovic, beating the Serb 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes for a massive achievement.
It was one of the most important encounters of the 21st century, and Nadal was not to be denied in the conditions that favored Djokovic, producing aggressive tennis that saw no match from the other side of the net.
Rafa lost serve once and made seven breaks, delivering a bagel in the opener and standing strong ahead of set number three. They traded breaks in the middle of the set, and the Spaniard clinched the crucial one at 5-5 following the Serb's double fault.
Trailing six Majors behind Roger after Wimbledon 2012, Nadal has outplayed Roger 9-3 on the most significant tennis scene to match his Major record and confirm tennis immortal's status. "The numbers should be analyzed by people who have good knowledge of the history of tennis.
Honestly, it does not matter to me much; I'm happy with my career. At the moment, it's clear that I'm one of the two. We'll see what happens in the next few years: what Djokovic does, what Federer does when he returns, and what I keep doing. If all goes well, we'll have time to analyze it when our careers are over," Rafael Nadal said.