By Josh Kramer
I cannot believe that a good portion of the tennis world doubted Rafa heading into this year’s version of Roland Garros. I cannot believe that I doubted Rafa heading into this year’s French Open. On Day 1 of this year’s French, upstart American John Isner pushed him to the brink of elimination in a 5-set thriller. Nadal survived and conquered as he always does. Djokovic was the odds on favorite for many, after this near first round disaster (and rightfully so). Ever heard the expression, “Fuel to the fire?” The talk of the media and the doubters would normally give a guy motivation to prove the doubters wrong. Also losing two clay court finals to the 2nd ranked player in the world all in the last six weeks might have a normal guy doubting himself. Rafa is not a your typical guy though. And no fuel was needed to light his fire.
Heading into the French, Nadal was not only looking to maintain his number 1 ranking which was in serious jeopardy, he was looking to tie Bjorn Bjorg for clay court immortality. Well welcome to the club Mr. Nadal. Nadal is the greatest clay court player of all time in my eyes. He is a career 44 and 1 at the French. Sure I did not get to witness Bjorg’s greatness. But I cannot imagine a guy being more dominant.
Today was a familiar sight. The 19th version of a Nadal/Federer final. A matchup that has really defined this decade of tennis. And Roger, though heading into the twilight of his career, played an outstanding match. He really was great for the duration of the two weeks, showing glimpses of his former nearly unbeatable self. Yet it was not enough to slay the clay court giant. As I have said many times before. Roland Garros is Rafael Nadal’s playground. And today was just another day at the park for the world’s number 1 ranked player.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.