‘There is no one like Rafael Nadal at…’, says former ATP ace

Since the start of the Open Era, 65 Grand Finals spots have been reserved for players who have turned 30. Four players are the dominant figures on that list, taking 36 of those 65 spots. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer are the only players with at least eight Major finals after their 30th birthday. The next “veterans” will need a feat if they want to join them. Rosewall was 33 years old when the Open Era began, and she did her best to extend his career and reach eight Major finals. The great Aussie is a proud owner of many aging achievements, and his name holds six of the 11 oldest Major finishers. There was no one to follow Rosewall’s record for decades to come before Federer, Nadal and Djokovic reached 30 between 2011 and 2017. Federer’s first Major final after turning 30 came at Wimbledon 2012, and it remained competitive until 2019 to get the eighth title match and catch up with Ken Rosewall. Novak Djokovic turned 30 in May 2017, with his first final in this group coming at Wimbledon a year later. Novak was a player to beat at the Majors through the end of 2021, advancing in ten finals after turning 30 to leave Rosewall and Federer behind. Rafael Nadal only needed three years to rack up seven Major finals after turning 30, so he looked good to top the charts in the following seasons. The Spaniard only reached one final in 2020 and 2021 to lose ground to Djokovic before returning to his best in the current season. Rafa is yet to lose a match at Majors in 2022, conquering the Australian Open and Roland Garros to reign with 22 Major crowns. In this way, Nadal equals Djokovic’s record and becomes the second player in the Open Era with ten Major finals after turning 30 years old.

Ion Tiriac praises Rafa Nadal

Ion Tiriac believes this is one of the reasons why the crowd at the French Open this year was not in favor of the Serb, especially in the match against Rafael Nadal. “Nadal is Nadal, and at Roland Garros there is no one like him. And on the other hand, I think Djokovic has made a fatal, fatal mistake with the issue of the vaccine. Fatal. For his image and all that, a shame, because he is a sensational player,” Tiriac said. Ion Tiriac also spoke about the personality of Novak Djokovic and drew comparisons to John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase. “He wants to be a personality, but he doesn’t have the charisma of McEnroe or Nastase,” Tiriac said. “So it’s a little more difficult. Without a doubt he is a great player and a great worker. But he’s not Nadal.”