Sunday saw the climax of the Roland Garros in Paris. Having narrowly beaten Andy Murray in the semi-final, World Number 3 Stan Wawrinka found himself pitted against the undisputed King of Clay Rafael Nadal. Having gone unbeaten in all sets until his penultimate game against Murray, Wawrinka fell well short in a final that saw Nadal claim his very own El Decimo. As the Roland Garros trophy was showcased in it’s custom Louis Vuitton trunk, fans were quietly recounting each of Nadal’s ten victories in Paris and wondering how many more he will collect. So how did Nadal reach double figures?
2005, June 5th – Nadal vs Mariano Puerta
Heading into the competition in 4th seed, Nadal dismissed both Dennis Ferrer in the QF’s and Roger Federer in the SF’s to face one-time Grand Slam finalist Mariano Puerta. Falling behind in the first set, Nadal powered through the next three winning 6–3, 6–1, 7–5 to claim his first title.
2006-2008 – Nadal vs Roger Federer
Over the few years, Nadal and Federer battled it out at the top, with Nadal pipping the Swiss legend to the title on each of the next three occasions. Finishing the three-year rout with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 win in 2008. Being knocked out of the competition the following year by eventual finalist Robin Söderling signalled an end to Nadal’s first period of domination.
2010, June 6th – Nadal vs Robin Söderling
The following year Nadal took revenge on Söderling for his early exit. Cleaning up in the final with a 6–4, 6–2, 6–4 win, Nadal took his fifth Roland Garros in the space of six years. Somewhat of a anomaly event, the 2010 French Open is the only Grand Slam to not see either Federer of Djokovic reach the semi-finals stage.
2011-2014 – Nadal vs Federer, Ferrer & Djokovic
The next four years signalled the second period of clay-domination for the Spaniard. Making Paris his home-from-home, Nadal twice beat Novak Djokovic alongside a hard fought victory over Federer and a resounding win over countryman Ferrer.
2017, June 11th – Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka
Having gone two years without taking home the silverware, Nadal entered the 2017 Grand Slam in fourth seed. Navigating through the early round, both Nadal and Wawrinka failed to drop a set until Andy Murray took two from Wawrinka in the semi-finals. In the final Nadal’s expertise proved too much for the heavy-hitting Swiss and it was game over with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 win. The question remains, is this another period of domination?