Rafael Nadal Receives Tough Challenge from Tommy Haas for French Open 2021

Published 01/14/2021, 12:19 AM EST
Rafael Nadal of Spain hugs the Musketeers’ Cup as he celebrates victory following the mens singles final against Dominic Thiem of Austria during day fifteen of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on June 10, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


The command that Spain’s Rafael Nadal has on a clay court is out of this world. Between 2005 and 2020, he has won a record 13 titles at the French Open. And while his dominance on clay is widely celebrated, it has also become a famous topic of mockery.

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To illustrate the fact, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas had previously wished to ban Nadal forever from Roland Garros. And before that, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev had trolled himself by sharing a video of Rafa winning the 2050 French Open.

However, unlike most, former German professional Tommy Haas has a rather unconventional take on the ‘King of Clay’. He has proposed a unique challenge to the 34-year-old to be carried out at the major clay tournament.

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Tommy Haas has a new challenge for Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning championship point during his Men’s Singles Final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day fifteen of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on October 11, 2020, in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Considered to be one of the brightest contenders of tennis, Haas had a difficult professional career. He was once a World No. 2 player; however, an accident changed his fate. The German player decided to officially hang his racket in March 2018. But only recently, he took up another kind of tennis racket.

In a video, the 42-year-old is seen returning a shot with a wooden spoon on a tennis court. He realized the difficulty in doing so instantly, and soon, he proposed that Rafa plays with it at the French Open.

“I think Rafael Nadal should play with this racket at Roland Garros,” Tommy wrote in the video. ESPN Tenis shared his video and asked whether the 20-time Grand Slam champion would accept the challenge.

Will Rafael also win the 2021 French Open?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 29: Dominic Thiem of Austria and Rafael Nadal of Spain embrace at the net following their Men’s Singles Quarterfinal Match on day ten of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2020, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

With his growing age, Rafa is getting hungrier and hungrier to win tournaments. He will start his clay campaign as the undoubtable favorite player.

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But given the rise of next-generation players such as Austria’s Dominic Thiem, it will not be a cakewalk for Nadal. The reigning US Open champion has played in two French Open finals in 2018 and 2019; both times, Rafa himself has defeated him.

Nevertheless, the 2021 ATP Tour has only just begun and there is a lot to cover before the French Open. Nadal and Thiem will be travelling to Adelaide this week to start their Australian Tour.

Will Rafa continue to dominate the clay or Thiem will take over his crown?

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Purav Joshi

935 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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