Tennis fans have never been luckier.
Not only are we in the midst of watching the greatest tennis player of all time in Roger Federer, but we’re also being treated to the greatest clay court player of all time as well.
Rafael Nadal wrapped up his fifth French Open title in six years destroying Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. The hard hitting Swede didn’t stand a chance, despite being the only person to ever defeat Rafa on the clay of Rolland Garros.
At 24 years of age Nadal has put together a body of work on clay that is truly remarkable. A record of 203-16 and 29 titles. Right now Bjorn Borg is the only player that could challenge Nadal as the clay king. His record; 245-39 with 30 titles. Comparable to Nadal’s stats except, it took a career to achieve.
Not to be forgotten is the end of perhaps the greatest streak in sports. Federer had appeared in 23 straight Grand Slam semi finals until Robin Soderling upset the Swiss in the quarters. To put that in to context, Tiger Woods who’s good buddies with the former world number one is widely considered the most dominant golfer of his era. The equivalent of Federer’s record in golf would be a top four finish at a Major. Tiger’s longest streak currently sits a five.
On the womens side, Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur were hardly favorites going into day one. The two proved to be giant killers taking out the likes of Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva, and Caroline Wozniacki along the way.
At nearly 30 years of age Schiavone pulled out one of the most exciting wins in recent memory, dropping to the ground on match point and kissing the clay. Truly remarkable, especially considering at last year’s tournament she faced Stosur as well, only it was in the first round, and she lost.
Stay tuned, Wimbledon starts in about 13 days and who knows what’ll happen next!