Rafa Nadal reacts to winning French Open at Roland-Garros
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Rafael Nadal has dismissed his chances of winning all four Grand Slams this year after already tasting title success at the Australian Open and the French Open. Novak Djokovic came within one match of achieving the iconic feat last year after winning the first three Grand Slams of the tennis calendar. But the Serbian was then defeated by Daniil Medvedev in September’s US Open final.
“On the men’s tour, nobody has done the Grand Slam since Rod Laver,” Nadal pointed out. “Novak Djokovic came closest last year. If it’s rarely been done, it’s difficult to contemplate, even more so at 36 years of age.”
Don Budge became the first man to win all four Grand Slams in the same calendar year when he achieved the feat in 1938, before Rod Laver did the same in 1962 and 1969. But no other man has managed the accomplishment since – and Nadal might be thinking it’s a bridge too far for him.
Nadal has been in imperious form on the court this year and overcame a two-set deficit to see-off Russian Medvedev in the showpiece event Down Under in January. He then dominated on the Roland Garros clay courts as he overcame Casper Ruud in the French Open final earlier this month.
The 36-year-old struggled with a chronic foot injury during his success in Paris and was only able to get through matches after being injected with painkillers. But he has confirmed that he intends to take his place at Wimbledon, which is due to get underway later this month.
Nadal has landed the trophy at the All England Club on two occasions in the past and could be in the frame to win it again this year if he can overcome his foot pain and perform to the levels he is capable of. But the 22-time Grand Slam champion knows it would take something hugely special to win in SW19 and at the US Open.
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Before this year, Nadal had never won the first two Grand Slams of the season. After his only other Australian Open triumph in 2009, the Spaniard failed to retain his French Open title as he was knocked out by Robin Soderling in the fourth round. That defeat to the Swede was in fact the only time Nadal lost at Roland Garros between his debut in 2005 and 2015.
Nadal’s record at Wimbledon hasn’t been great over the years and he has only landed the title twice before. So his hopes of winning all four majors this year could appear to be nothing more than a dreamy fantasy.
Last autumn, Djokovic was the overwhelming favourite to beat Medvedev and win at Flushing Meadows. But if he couldn’t manage to secure four majors in the same year, Nadal could well be thinking it will also be out of his grasp.
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