The 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal was a happy camper after his first Parisian clash this year, beating Alexei Popyrin in straight sets. Nadal scored the 101st Roland Garros win after a strong performance in sets one and two, struggling a bit in the third but overcoming a 5-2 deficit and two set points to seal the deal in the tie break and advance into the second round for the 17th time at his beloved Major. After the match, Nadal compared the conditions in Paris with a previous year when the event went on in October. Despite winning the title in style, Rafa stated the conditions were far from ideal in 2020, as they played in cold weather. Nadal was afraid of getting injured, but everything went perfectly for him, winning the 13th Roland Garros crown without losing a set and lifting the 20th Major trophy to match Roger Federer.
Rafael Nadal shared thoughts about the last year’s Roland Garros campaign.
Settling into a fine rhythm, the king of clay lost only 23 games in the opening four rivals, claiming all 12 sets without any trouble and sailing into the quarters. Jannik Sinner was ready to push the grand champion to the limits, serving for the opening set and building an early advantage in the second before Rafa prevailed 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 in under three hours to find himself in the semis. Facing another formidable opponent, the Spaniard defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 in three hours and nine minutes, struggling a bit in the third set before winning the tie break 7-0 to set the title clash against Novak Djokovic. World’s leading player stood no chance against the Roland Garros dominant figure, as Rafa scored a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win to secure the 13th Parisian crown and join Roger Federer at the top of the GOAT race.
“Last year’s conditions were good for me too because I won (laughs). Another thing is that it wasn’t an ideal situation to play tennis, with matches at 3 or 4 degrees. Last year in Paris, I was a little afraid of getting injured, but that’s in the past now. This year we are back to a regular date in the calendar, and the conditions are warmer. I think it is much more comfortable to play in these conditions than in the others for everyone. We are used to playing like this, and I am happy with how things have been going,” Rafael Nadal said.