‘Previously, there was a repetitive aspect to Rafael Nadal’s game’, says expert

After two short campaigns at his beloved Major, Rafael Nadal was ready to restore order at Roland Garros in 2017. The Spaniard defeated all seven of his rivals in straight sets and secured his tenth Parisian crown, becoming the first player to hold ‘La Decima’ in a single Major. Competing in his 10th Roland Garros final, Nadal ousted 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1 in two hours and five minutes to lift the trophy. Wawrinka had to work hard in the semi-final against Andy Murray, and he had nothing left in the tank for a rested opponent determined to lift his first Major trophy in three years. Nadal was the favourite, and he showed it on the court after an exhibition of solidity in serving and returning. Stan had never lost a Major final, but he couldn’t hold a perfect score against the most formidable rival on the Philippe-Chatrier track. Rafa secured his 15th Major title and moved ahead of Pete Sampras, trailing only Roger Federer. The Spaniard became the third oldest Roland Garros champion in the Open Era, after Andrés Gimeno and Ken Rosewall. He joined Bjorn Borg on the list of players with three Major crowns without dropping a set. Nadal set another record and became the third player to win a Major trophy as a teenager and in his 20s and 30s, following Ken Rosewall and Pete Sampras in that feat. Rafa did everything well on the court, crushing the opponent’s backhand with his forehand and pressing hard on the return.

Wilander praises Rafa Nadal

Former World No. 1 Mats Wilander has praised Rafael Nadal for the changes he has made to his game over the years. “His tennis is much more entertaining than Djokovic’s and Federer’s. The older he is, the more I enjoy watching him play. We see that he trusts his variations more than when he used to at 22 or 23 years old,” Wilander said. Wilander, who covered the French Open with Eurosport as a commentator, was so overwhelmed with the 36-year-old’s game that he expressed his wish to stop commentating and just watch the Spaniard play. “Previously, there was a repetitive aspect to his game. We knew exactly how he was going to win most of the points and get the job done 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Now he creates uncertainty. What will he do next? It’s like watching Federer when he was at his best. I no longer want to commentate on his matches, I just want to watch him play,” Wilander said.