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It’s no great secret that currently, Rafael Nadal stands alone in the Grand Slam category. His Australian Open success saw him reach 21 Slams. This makes him the first man to ever move beyond the 20 mark. Of course, his nearest rivals, both Federer and Djokovic, are tied on 20 Slams each. But now that he has managed to win the Aussie Open for just the second time, does this now mean he will finish with the all-time record?
This debate has been surging ever since Nadal lifted the trophy in Melbourne. And below, I’ll be sharing my two cents on whether this will now come to fruition.
The Grand Slam Race Discussed in Detail
As things stand, Rafael Nadal has the most slams to his name of any man in history. Obviously, this is extremely exciting if you are a Nadal fan, and for tennis in general. But with Nadal and Djokovic now in their mid-30s, I believe that the next two years are crucial for settling this debate. So how will things pan out? Let’s find out.
The 2022 French Open
The 2022 French Open is going to be massive in terms of who wins the most Slams ever. While Novak Djokovic managed to win the title in 2021, Nadal is still the favorite – he has to be. He is the greatest clay-court player ever, and Djokovic had to put in a God-like performance to beat him in last year’s semi-finals. For me, if Nadal manages to win the French Open this year, he then becomes a strong favorite for getting the most Slams ever.
Remaining Slams in 2022
For the sake of heating up the debate, let’s say that Nadal manages to win the French Open this year. This would put him on 22 Slams and leave Djokovic 2 Slams behind. However, assuming Djokovic is fit and healthy for Wimbledon, I believe he has an immense shot of winning the tournament. This would peg the race back and put Djokovic within 1 Slam of Nadal. And of course, the final Slam of the year is the US Open. Djokovic had a shot to get 21 last year, but the pressure of the calendar slam proved too much.
He lost to Medvedev in straight sets. But if he makes the final again, without such enormous pressure, he could well win the tournament. Obviously, we cannot count Nadal out from winning the tournament either!
2023 Australian Open
This is perhaps the most interesting part of all. Reports suggest that Djokovic could well be facing a ban from Australia after his deportation in January. If this holds true, Nadal would then have a fantastic shot at winning the tournament once again. But if Djokovic is allowed to play, this would make things extremely interesting. The Aussie Open has been his most successful event throughout his career – winning the thing 9 times.
However, he needs to be able to play before he has a shot at winning the title. So to conclude, as things stand, I’d say that Nadal has the edge in finishing with the most Slams ever.