20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal probably has one of the greatest statistics at one particular event in sports. He has won at the Roland Garros a staggering 13 times out of 16 attempts. Players dream of winning even one slam while the Spaniard has won at one Slam tournament a record 13 times.
Out of the 20 majors to his name, 65% of them have been won on his favorite ‘clay courts’. Over the years, he has dominated events played on this surface. Although the outcome was similar, the mindset approaching the French Open in 2011 and 202 would have differed from his approach to his other victories.
Recently, Nadal reflected on the 2011 and 2020 seasons. As compared to the other years, the Spaniard found these ones to be particularly challenging. He explained, “2011 was very difficult after coming from a difficult year. And then I would say that the one with the most adverse conditions was this year 2020. I had only played one previous tournament on clay. The conditions in Paris were not positive, things turned out well, but playing cold for my body is difficult, then for my style of play, playing with so much cold makes my shots less effective.”
During this year’s French Open, Rafa lifted the title for the 13th time in his career. He dismantled Novak Djokovic in the final, winning in straight sets. Nadal also pondered on why he has been such a brutal force at Roland Garros. The Spaniard said, “At Roland Garros, I play well because it is a very large court, where I control the angles very well, but to control the angles well you have to have a ball that responds to the racket. This year the ball changed and that together with the cold made it a ball that took less effect.”