We accept what Rafael Nadal (36) has achieved in Roland Garros because it is there as an undeniable fact, otherwise, it is tough to believe. Words such as unworldly, superhuman, and godly appear in the mind when one considers Nadal's French Open exploits. Only three losses in the last 16 years! (a 112-3 record). That too despite a long history of injuries! It felt unbelievable last year when he had won the title 13 times, now that he has made it 14, words fall short.
The 2022 final French Open final between Nadal and Casper Ruud, underlined a lot of things.
Casper Ruud (23) was being talked about as the most accomplished clay-court player in the circuit as of now, also he was the player in form, having done well in a number of tournaments running up to the 2022 French Open. In short, he represented the best of the young generation in the clay court. But he fell way short against the King of the clay court. Nadal not only won with ease but also thumped his authority on the game completely dominating the 23-year-old barring a couple of initial games in the second set. He completely demolished the young challenger in the final set. It was clear that in the last decade and a half and more the game of tennis had nothing much to offer as a challenge to Nadal on the clay court. In this context, the three losses Nadal has suffered in French Open in his 17 appearances feel nothing more than aberrations.
The fact that the claim to fame of Robin Soderling, a very talented tennis player in his own right is that he was able to defeat Nadal at the French Open, talks volumes about the level of tennis Nadal has played at the Roland Garros. The other two losses were against Novak Djokovic, who is a legend in his own right. But this year Nadal put it across Djokovic in a tough quarterfinal match, winning in four sets. This despite the fact that Djokovic is in his tennis prime, is the current ATP world number one and he had a lot to prove against Nadal. But with his win, Nadal proved a point and the debate about the GOAT is now well settled in his favor for good.
Post the French Open triumph Nadal made it clear that his heart is still willing to go on, only if the body (read foot) is supporting. Suffering from a long-standing foot injury, this might be the last of Nadal we have seen at the Roland Garros. Though the king also said that he is willing to take on the grass courts of Wimbolden, which is the next big tennis event on the cards.