Rafael Nadal has been the most dominant figure at a single Major in tennis history. The Spaniard has won 14 Roland Garros titles in 18 trips to Paris, experiencing just three defeats at his beloved tournament and staying competitive for nearly two decades. Speaking of his most desired Roland Garros final, Rafa chose the 2020 triumph over his biggest rival, Novak Djokovic. Nadal secured the 13th Roland Garros crown in October 2020 and equaled Roger Federer’s record of 20 major titles. Despite difficult conditions and a powerful rival on the other side, Nadal was ready to extend his Parisian reign. He overcame all obstacles and a roof over his head to score a commanding victory and write history. Rafa’s 13th title at Roland Garros came after a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 triumph in two hours and 41 minutes, achieving the 100th Parisian victory in 102 matches! Nadal suffered eight breaks in seven encounters, and Djokovic couldn’t find the return magic to challenge the king of clay. Rafa had 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, controlling his shots very well and stealing 51% of the return points to get seven breaks from 18 opportunities and leave Novak behind. Djokovic struggled to find his game for more than two hours, committing 50 unforced errors and failing to match Nadal’s pace in the first two sets. Rafa destroyed Novak at the shortest range, up to four hits, and got the win from him in that segment after they stayed close to each other in later exchanges. The Spaniard got off to a perfect start and got a break in the first game of the encounter when Novak’s backhand fell wide. Nadal capitalized on another return game at 2-0 to increase the lead and painted a backhand crosscourt winner at 4-0 to widen the gap. Rafa held on in the sixth game to close the first set with a love, the first in the Roland Garros final since 2008, when he did the same against Roger Federer. The defending champion won two breaks in the second set and held 30 in the eighth game with a service winner to carve out a 6-0 6-2 lead in an hour and 34 minutes.
Perez comments on Nadal
Former player Guillermo Perez has said that Rafael Nadal is playing better tennis than ever before. During an interaction with Punto de Break, Perez observed how the good players like Nadal have evolved their game but still maintained their consistency. “The good guys keep winning; the good ones not only stay, they improve, because I would say that right now Nadal plays better tennis than before,” said Perez. “Maybe he has fewer legs, less physical, but he plays better tennis, that makes his game perform better.”