King of Clay but NOT the GOAT

There is no doubt Rafa Nadal is the ultimate King of Clay. We got another reassurance this morning, when he thrashed Novak Djokovic in the 2020 final of the Roland Garros, cementing his place as the dominator of the red dirt in Paris. With all due respect to the french people and Monsieur Garros, the French pioneering aviator and fighter pilot during World War I, it’s fair to suggest changing the name of this tournament to the “Rafael Nadal Parera Open”, after winning it for a record 13th time. Nadal debuted at the French in 2005. He’s lost twice since then and won 100 times. There has been no more dominant player at any tournament than the Spaniard. What’s more remarkable is the fact Nadal had tied the All Time Men’s Grand Slam tally with the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) Roger Federer. A bit of an odd coincidence, having both champions at 20 slams each in this awkward year 2020. But, are they really tied as the greatest of all time? Definitely not!

In a quite unusual career, the duo champions had pushed each other to new limits, as the world witnessed the level of tennis only getting better through the years. The classy Federer, an inspiration to millions of fans around the globe, still competing at the age of 39 with no sign of hanging off his racquet as he loves the sport so much. On the other end, Nadal with his gruelling approach to play every point as if it’s the most crucial one, putting so much effort and too much sweat and feast pumps all over the court. But his career, as much as it’s been a record breaking one, is mostly around the clay courts. 13 out of 20 slams come from the French Open only. 60 out of his 86 singles titles won on clay courts, putting him 4th on the all-time list, behind Connors 109, Federer 103, and Lendl 94. Let alone, Nadal had never won the prestigious end-of-year ATP Masters Finals. Federer is leading the all-time winners record there with 6 wins, Sampras, Lendl and Djokovic with 5, Nadal 0.

No doubt, Nadal is the greatest clay-courter of all time. Definitely nothing more than that. With Federer’s praise for his friend and nemesis Nadal, it’s clear to see who’s the real all-time champion here, on and off the court.

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