Nadal proves he’s still King of Clay

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There’s no getting around it: Rafael Nadal is still dominant on the clay court and he’s no doubt the best player to ever compete at the French Open.

Nadal can lay claim to the fact that he has 10 French Open titles, which no one else can claim. His win gives him 15 Grand Slam titles, which finally helped him pass Pete Sampras for second all-time.

Nadal’s straight set victory Sunday afternoon in Paris proved that he still has plenty left in the tank, even at 31-years-old, which seems weird to say.

However, Nadal has been a pro since he was 15 years old, winning his first tennis title in 2002.

It’s fair to say that Nadal might be the greatest tennis player to ever set foot in Roland-Garros. That said, it never hurts to get one more grand slam win under his belt.

As much as Stan Wawrinka would’ve liked to win another French Open title, it wasn’t going to be his day, not with the tournament Nadal has had.

Nadal’s win gives him his first grand slam title since he won the French Open for a ninth time back in 2014.

During that time, Nadal appeared on his way to catching up to fellow rival Roger Federer. However, injuries started to plague Nadal.

On top of that, the competition started catching up to both Nadal and Federer, most notably Novak Djokovic.

In between Nadal’s grand slam wins, Djokovic has won six grand slam titles, including the French Open in 2016.

Nadal made some changes to try and get back on track. The most notable change was the hiring of Carlos Moya as coach. The hiring of Moya ended a 16-year coaching relationship with his Uncle Toni.

The changes seemed to be almost immediate. Nadal made it all the way to the Australian Open Finals, losing in an epic five-setter to Federer.

Nadal appeared to be in trouble after losing a couple more times, including again to Federer at Indian Wells.

However, he has since bounced back during the clay court season with wins at Barcelona and Madrid.

What makes this French Open so special, besides it being his 10th, is how dominant he was during the tournament.

Nadal never dropped a set on his way to winning the tournament. In Friday’s semifinal, he avenged his Italian Open loss to Austria’s Dominic Thiem, shutting him down completely in the third set 6-0. Nadal never even went to a tiebreaker in any of his set victories.

With Nadal and Federer both playing better tennis, and Djokovic continuing to struggle, it certainly sets up for an interesting time at Wimbledon next month.

Sunday’s win helped Nadal catapult back to the top of men’s tennis. It’s possible he uses this momentum to help him win Wimbledon for a third time.