The greatest Grand Slam wins by Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has won the second-most Grand Slams (19) in the history of male tennis after Roger Federer (20).
Nadal is considered the ‘King of Clay’ as he has won a record 12 French Open titles. He has posted a record 81 straight wins on clay, the most by any player in the Open Era.
He has also won four US Open titles, two Wimbledon crowns, and one Australian Open title.
Here’s a look at the greatest Grand Slam wins by Nadal in his career:
2005 French Open
Nadal was having a great season on clay in 2005, but he was yet to record a Grand Slam win in his first two professional years as a tennis player. He had posted 24 straight wins on clay before entering his first French Open tournament in 2005.
He made it a memorable one by winning the title on his first appearance at Ronald Garros. He defeated Argentina’s Mariano Puerta 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 7-5 to live up to his favourite’s tag in the tournament.
Out of his next 14 appearances at Ronald Garros, he won the French Open a staggering 11 times.
Federer was the favourites to win the 2008 Wimbledon final against Nadal. Federer has already beaten Nadal in their previous two Wimbledon finals.
But Nadal came out all guns blazing and raced to a 2-0 lead before Federer bounced back to level it 2-2 ahead of the 5th set, saving multiple championship points on Nadal’s serve.
The match had all the drama with rain delays and bad light compounding problems. Eventually, Nadal prevailed 9-7 in the 5th set to win his first Grand Slam outside Paris. Nadal defeated Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7.
2012 French Open
Nadal was in his worst form during 2011-12, losing three majors to Novak Djokovic. He lost 2011 Wimbledon, 2011 US Open and 2012 Australian Open – all to Djokovic.
He was struggling with a series of injuries. But he was on familiar ground in 2012 French Open. And by destiny, Djokovic and Nadal met again in the title round for the fourth straight Grand Slam final.
Nadal, however, brought his top game to the fore at Ronald Garros, his favourite Grand Slam ground. He overcame Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 to win his 7th French Open title then.
2019 U.S. Open
Last year was a successful year for Nadal. He reached three Grand Slam finals, winning two and losing one.
However, Nadal’s US Open final win was one of the best Grand Slam victories of his career. He was facing a young Daniil Medvedev in the final. But Medvedev pushed Nadal to the limit.
Nadal fought tooth and nail to oust Medvedev in a thrilling five-setter 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, making him just one shy of equalling Federer’s record tally of 20 Grand Slam wins.
Photo courtesy: Rafael Nadal's Facebook page