In a sport that is relatively competitive amongst its top stars, for some reason the French Open has been anything but that for the past decade. The lone clay surface Grand Slam of tennis has been ruled by one man: Rafael Nadal! Though tennis legend Roger Federer has nicked 1 French Open title during this span, it was only through an injury that Nadal was defeated. In fact, Nadal’s current French Open record stands at 59-1, and includes 8 titles in 9 attempts!
How has Nadal come to rule the clay courts of Roland Garros? It begins with his youth. Young Rafael was a very promising athlete in two sports. Not just tennis, but also in soccer. Fit and able to run for hours, his body has been more athletic than most other tennis players. While growing up, the young Spaniard played both sports and probably could have found success in either. Eventually in his teenage years, Nadal chose to pursue tennis solely, and the rest is history.
Another benefit to Rafael Nadal’s game is that he is ambidextrous. Though he writes with his right hand, he was taught to play tennis with his left, giving him an advantage over the majority of players who are right-handed. On a clay surface this is very beneficial, as a relatively slow game on a slippery court requires quick use of both arms. A master of such play, Nadal has a massive advantage on clay!
But what it comes down to is Nadal’s strength and physical presence. Anyone watching him play can instantly recognize that he is the strongest, and one of the quickest, players around. With athleticism beyond anyone else and a court that slows everybody’s strong forehand, Nadal seems to have been made precisely for success at the French Open. He simply out-powers his opponents. While his recent form in other clay court tournaments this season has been questionable, Rafael Nadal remains the heavy favorite at Roland Garros, where his supreme skill is always evident. Get French Open tickets here!
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