A Rafael Nadal win at the French Open is about as sure a thing as any in sports. It’s his territory, where he’s able to put his body through the wringer to outsmart opponents with lateral movement a 31-year-old with his injury history shouldn’t still have.
The 2017 Open was no different than what we’re accustomed to. With his hair tucked neatly behind an oversized navy blue Nike headband, he meticulously placed balls that had his opponent, Stan Wawrinka, hopeless from the very beginning of the match.
Nadal finished him handily in three sets, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. There was never any question of how this would finish. He went all four rounds of the tournament without losing a set. This is what Rafael Nadal does.
Nadal now owns 10 French Open championships.
Nadal has won the most titles at a single grand slam in the open era. He won his first nine in a 10-year span from 2005-2014, becoming the third player to win a slam in his teenage years. That includes four wins over Roger Federer in the final and two over Novak Djokovic. Basically, they haven’t come easy.
In 2009, his four-year winning streak was snapped at the hands of Robin Soderling in the fourth round. Incredibly, it was just his first loss ever at the French Open. Eight years later, he only has one other defeat, which came in 2015. In 2016 he had to withdraw due to a wrist injury.
There’s no sign he’s slowing down
With a shutout performance like he had this year, it’s hard to even entertain the idea that his 10th French Open title will be his last. He had two other clean sweeps without losing a set, in both 2008 and 2010 at Wimbledon. Seven years later, his game looks much the same.
With this victory, he’s now just the third tennis player ever to win a Grand Slam title in his teens, 20s and 30s.
There are more titles to be won by the greatest singles player to ever play the sport on clay.