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Yesterday afternoon, on the famous Philippe-Chatrier court, Nadal secured his 14th French Open title. Sure, it wasn’t the final that we all hoped for, but we cannot take anything away from Casper Ruud. He made his first Grand Slam final this year, and in time, I am sure he will challenge for Roland Garros once again. However, coming back to Nadal now, it seemed business as usual as he dominated Ruud to claim another French Open.
Prior to the game, Nadal’s coach, Carlos Moya, claimed that if Nadal managed to win the final, it would be his most impressive victory ever. This was a rather intriguing comment, and I wanted to address it. Of course, once Nadal beat Djokovic, most of us expected that he would go on to win the tournament. But the build-up to Roland Garros, and the draw, has raised more eyebrows than usual following Nadal’s victory.
Below, I’ve examined why this is being viewed as his ‘best ever’.
Why Number 14 Is Nadal’s Best Victory in Paris
I must say, I found Moya’s comment to be a bit of a surprise. But when you look back at what Nadal has dealt with this season, I can understand where he is coming from. And as it happens, I tend to agree with his views. Here’s why:
Clay Court Build Up
As some of you may remember, Nadal sustained a stress fracture in his rib during his clash against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells. This put his clay-court preparations in jeopardy. He was out for six weeks after Indian Wells, and he didn’t return to the clay until Madrid at the start of April. Let’s not forget that he also lost to Alcaraz in Madrid, followed by Shapovalov in Rome.
I’ve mentioned Nadal’s rib issues above, but we cannot forget about his chronic foot injury either. This was a particular concern for Rafa and his fans after Rome. In that tournament, he limped off the court against Shapovalov. And I must admit, I was concerned as to whether Nadal would even play the French after seeing that. In addition, I can’t remember any other year where Nadal’s fitness was so questionable ahead of Roland Garros.
The Draw He Was Given
When the draw for the 2022 French Open was announced, many fans and players alike could not believe it. The top half of the draw was just stacked, with Alcaraz, Djokovic, Nadal, and Zverev all in there. Of course, Nadal was facing a quarter-final clash with Djokovic, followed by a semi-final with either Alcaraz or Zverev – if the seedings went to plan, which they did. So the fact that he wriggled through this draw and won the tournament is just insane.
Nadal turned 36 years old during the French Open this year. This puts him firmly in the twilight of his career, along with other guys such as Federer. So age alone makes this victory extra special. But when you think about how physical you have to be to win Roland Garros, the fact that he has been able to do this, even with his injuries, makes it his best victory in Paris of all time.