Adios, Rafa: Nadal’s 5 biggest moments as his incredible French Open affair comes to an end


Rafael Nadal might have just played his final French Open with a first-round defeat to German fourth seed Alexander Zverev.

After the loss Nadal said he would likely skip Wimbledon in a bid to prepare for a potential Olympic Games appearance back in France later in the year.

Without doubt the French Open was the major in which the Spaniard enjoyed his best tennis. Nadal’s performances on clay were the most dominant the sport has ever seen on a particular surface and contributed to 14 of his 22 Grand Slam triumphs.

Rafael Nadal of Spain acknowledges the fans in Paris. (Photo by Getty Images)

As the curtain falls, here are the 5 biggest moments of Rafael Nadal’s career:

5. Olympic Gold Medal (2008)

After two consecutive Major wins in the months prior, Nadal won Olympic gold in a straight sets victory over Fernando Gonzalez of Chile on hardcourt, his biggest success up until that point on the surface. Nadal became the World No. 1 for the first time in his career, ending the dominant run rival Roger Federer had enjoyed that is still the longest reign in history.

4. Australian Open Winner (2022)

Nadal fought back from 2 sets down against Daniil Medvedev in the final to win his second Australian Open and complete the Career Grand Slam twice. Dubbed “the miracle in Melbourne”, it was one of the greatest comebacks in the history of Major finals.

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

3. US Open Winner (2010)

Nadal’s maiden title at the US Open, this victory completed the set of all 4 Major’s. Not only did Nadal’s victory over Novak Djokovic mean he had completed the Career Grand Slam, but it also meant he was only the second man in history to achieve the Career Golden Slam, after Andre Agassi. The pair are the only two players in history to win all 4 Grand Slams; as well as being winning Olympic gold medals.

2. Roland Garros Winner (2005)

The first Major of Nadal’s career, he came from 1 set down to defeat Mariano Puerta in his 1st of 14 titles at Roland Garros. This was the beginning of a run of 4 consecutive wins at the French Open, before losing in the semi-final in 2009 in the same year Roger Federer was finally able to win what would be his only trophy there, mainly due to the dominance of Nadal. Nadal won 5 in a row from 2010 to 2014. No player has dominated a Major the way the Spaniard dominated in Paris, with him winning 112/115 matches at Roland Garros.

1. Wimbledon winner (2008)

The 2008 Wimbledon final is widely regarded as, not only the greatest final ever to be played at the All England Tennis Club, but as the greatest tennis match of all time. By this time Nadal had established himself as the ‘King of Clay’, but had come up short on grass to Roger Federer in the 2 previous finals. Federer was at the top of his game during these years, and would have made it 5 consecutive titles at Wimbledon had he toppled Nadal in the final. After 5 sets, Nadal came out victorious and had showed that he was able to compete with Federer, not just on clay, but on the surface and at the Major Federer dominated the most throughout his career.

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