Rafael Nadal – The King of Clay and Greatest Player in French Open History

Rafael Nadal - The King of Clay and Greatest Player in French Open History

Rafael Nadal” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by y.caradec

Rafael Nadal turns 35 during the 2021 French Open. It will be the 17th time in his illustrious career that he has graced the clay courts of Roland Garros.

Performing in Paris is something the Spaniard has done year in, year out with alarming regularity. In fact, across his 16 consecutive French Open appearances, Nadal has lost just two matches in the Grand Slam tournament.

His moniker, the King of Clay, is something that he has well and truly earned by breaking all records. Most tennis players would call 13 Slams a fabulous career, but they are just Nadal’s Roland Garros wins alone.

The only blemishes, if you can call them that, on his magnificent French Open record were losses to Robin Söderling in four sets back in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals. Other than that, Nadal has been untouchable in the City of Light.

Maybe there’s something in the water, but for some reason he has shone brightest of all in Paris. Nadal’s is the perfect game for clay court competition, and so it has proved time and time again.

This is why the tennis betting on the French Open men’s singles this year has him a hot 6/5 favourite with only long-time rival Djokovic and Austrian player Dominic Thiem thought capable of an upset.

Nadal is a master at work. Just as sculptors mould from clay, he reigns supreme on this surface. When he finally retires, he will go down as the greatest at Roland Garros ever. Even before 1925 when the French Open was anything but, and only French club members could play, no man or woman can boast anything like the singles success Nadal has enjoyed here. What makes his incredible achievements even more remarkable is the company he has been keeping for most of his career.

Nobody else has got much of a look-in at Roland Garros with Nadal on the scene but, elsewhere and at other Slams, he has been part of a golden era for tennis. Swiss superstar Roger Federer and Djokovic are both contemporaries.

Along with Sir Andy Murray, this Big Four have dominated tennis since the mid-2000s. Nadal’s place among the pantheon of greats is assured, then, but he will always be synonymous with the French Open.

He has completed the career Grand Slam with success at the Australian Open in Melbourne, reigning on the grass courts of Wimbledon twice in the past, and four US Open victories at Flushing Meadows between 2010 and 2019. Nadal has won two or more tennis majors in the same year five times.

There is no need or desire on his part to get away from his association with clay. History will remember Nadal as a force of nature, best of his generation from a nation that has its fair share of memorable tennis pros.

Perhaps the scariest thing about Nadal is that he’s not done yet. There is still time to extend his French Open record, and he probably will.

Longest Tennis Match in History 2010

Longest Tennis Match in History 2010 Until 2010, the record for longest match in professional tennis history was a first round match between Frenchmen Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément at the French Open in 2004; Santoro eventually won 4-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3, 16-14 after six hours and 33 minutes. However, that record was beaten, hands down, by another first round match, between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahuf at the Wimbledon Championships in 2010.

Played over three days on Court 18, the match lasted eleven hours and five minutes in total, with Isner eventually winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68, making it the longest match both in terms of elapsed time and games played. In fact, the final set alone lasted eight hours and eleven minutes or, in other words, one hour and 38 minutes longer than the Santoro/Clément match. On the third day, played resumed in the fifth set at 59-59, to the amusement of the umpire and spectators, and continued until Isner broke serve in the 138th game to complete a remarkable victory. Both players were presented with crystal glasses and a commemorative plaque was erected courtside to mark their achievement.

In 2018, Isner was also involved in the second longest match in professional history, again at the Wimbledon Championships, where he eventually lost 6-7. 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 24-26 to South African Kevin Anderson in a men’s singles sem-final lasting six hours and 35 minutes. The following October, the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced that, from 2019, tie-breaks would be played at 12-12 in the final set to prevent such marathon matches.

Watch Highlights of the Longest Tennis Match in History

Steffi Graf ‘Golden Slam’ 1988

Steffi Graf 'Golden Slam' 1988 On her retirement from professional tennis in August, 1999, Stefanie Maria ‘Steffi’ Graf had won a total of 22 Grand Slam singles titles. However, in 1988, Graf achieved the rare feat of winning all four Grand Slam singles titles, plus an Olympic gold medal, in the same calendar year, thereby completing what is known as a ‘Golden Slam’, (which sounds like the nickname I’d name myself on high roller online casinos !) .

In the Australian Open, Graf beat defending champion, and fifth seed, Hana Mandlíková 6-2, 6-2 in the quarter-final, eighth seed Claudia Kohde-Kilsch 6-2, 6-3 in the semi-final and third seed Chris Evert, making her last appearance in a Grand Slam final, 6-1, 7-6, to take the title without dropping a set. In the French Open, Graf obliterated the unseeded Natasha Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in a lopsided, rain-interrupted final that lasted just over half an hour; in so doing, she achived the first ‘whitewash’ in a ladies’ Grand Slam final for 77 years.

At Wimbledon, Graf faced second seed Martina Navratilova, who was chasing her seventh ladies’ singles title in a row, in the final. Graf led 5-3 in the opening set, but lost the next six games to trail 7-5, 2-0; however, in a complete reversal of fortune, Graf won all bar one of the next 13 games to win the match 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Graf completed the Grand Slam on the acrylic hard court at the US Open, making her the first player to do do on three different surfaces, beating fifth seed Gabriella Sabatini 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the final. With second seed Chris Evert a third-round casualty, the pair, seeded first and third, met again in the gold medal match at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and Graf was again victorious, winning 6-3, 6-3. Much like when I’m on cancasinos casino online , Graf clearly had winning on here mind!

Watch Steffi Graf Win the Golden Slam

Fred Perry Wins French Open 1935

Fred Perry Wins French Open 1935 Born in Stockport, England in 1909, Frederick John ‘Fred’ Perry was the most successful British tennis player ever. Long before a modern world of best mobile casinos and indeed before turning professional in late 1936 – a decision for which he was widely criticised – Perry spent three years as the number one ranked amateur tennis player in the world. In 1934, 1935 and 1936, Perry won eight Grand Slam singles, including three consecutive victories in the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles without losing a set.

His most notable victory came in the French Championships, commonly known as the French Open, in 1935. The tournament was staged, as it is today, on outdoor red clay courts at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. Perry dropped the first set of his second-round match against the unseeded Vladimir Landau but, thereafter, beat Enrique ‘Bubi’ Maier, fifteenth seed Don Turnbull, seventh seed Christian Boussus and third seed Jack Crawford in straight sets en route to the final.

In that final, second-seeded Perry faced reigning champion, and number one seed, Gottfried von Cramm, a tall, blonde Saxon aristocrat and one of the greatest tennis players Germany has ever produced. In any event, Perry defeated his illustrious opponent 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 and, in so doing, became the first player ever to win all four Grand Slam singles titles – completing what is known, nowadays, as a ‘Career Grand Slam’. Perry accomplished the feat at the age of 26 and, decades later, remains the only British tennis player ever to have done so. Perhaps it’s a sign. I have take a moment away from www.cinemacasino.com and pick up a tennis racket!

To watch Fred Perry’s Wimbledon highlights click through