Rafael Nadal Surpasses Martina Navratilova on All-Time Grand Slam Match Victories List

Rafael Nadal is moving on up…

The 36-year-old Spanish professional tennis player has advanced to the third round of Wimbledon for the 11th time after defeating Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Thursday.

Rafael NadalIt was Nadal’s 307th Grand Slam match win, advancing him past Martina Navratilova in fourth place on the all-time list, behind Roger Federer (369), Serena Williams (365) and Novak Djokovic (330).

“Not the best start honestly,” Nadal said of Thursday’s victory. “I finished playing well. The fourth set has been the level of tennis for me, important improvement. The rest of the things, I have room to improve.”

Nadal is looking for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title, and third Wimbledon trophy.

Caroline Garcia Defeats Emma Raducanu to Reach Third Round at Wimbledon

Caroline Garcia is on to the next…

The 28-year-old half-Spanish tennis player ousted Emma Raducanu in the second round of women’s singles play at Wimbledon, beating the British No. 1 and reigning US Open champion 6-3, 6-3 in 86 minutes on Centre Court.

Caroline GarciaGarcia, ranked 55th in the world, gave Raducanu her third second-round loss in a row at this year’s Grand Slams.

Garcia proved to be too much for Raducanu, breaking her serve twice en route to winning the first set. Garcia then broke Raducanu’s serve to make it 3-2 in the second, only for Raducanu to break back in the next game. But the parity did not last long as Garcia broke Raducanu’s serve again in the following game and then held her own to go 5-3 up.

The crowd continued to get behind Raducanu as she went to serve to stay in the match, but Garcia needed only one match point to book her spot in the second round as she broke Raducanu’s serve for the fifth time.

For Garcia, this triumph means she’s started her Wimbledon single’s campaign with back-to-back victories over British hopefuls, after she needed three sets to get past Yuriko Miyazaki on Monday in the opening round.

Garcia, whose best record at a Slam was her quarterfinal finish in the 2017 French Open, now faces No. 33 seed Shuai Zhang in the third round on Friday.

Rafael Nadal Defeats Casper Ruud to Claim 14th French Open Title

Rafael Nadal has officially reclaimed his King of Clay title…

The 36-year-old Spanish tennis star overwhelmed Casper Ruud in straight sets on Sunday to win his record-extending 14th French Open championship and 22nd Grand Slam title.

Rafael NadalBut he revealed after the match that he needed an injection to his ailing left foot just to be able to play.

Nadal told Eurosport after his 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory that he received an injection to numb his foot for Sunday’s final.

“The preparation was not ideal,” he said. “I had a stress fracture of the rib, then I have the foot [pain], which stays there all the time. I had my doctor here with me — I don’t know how to say in English what we did. We played with no feeling on the foot, we played with an injection in the nerve so the foot was asleep — that’s why I was able to play.”

During the trophy ceremony, Nadal thanked his family and support team for helping him, because otherwise, he would have needed to “retire much before.”

“I don’t know what can happen in the future,” Nadal told the crowd, “but I’m going to keep fighting to try to keep going.”

Nadal revealed during his media availability after the match that he’d been undergoing frequent injections into a nerve throughout the past two weeks at Roland Garros, serving to numb the pain in his foot caused by Mueller-Weiss syndrome. It is not a long-term solution to the chronic foot problem, and he is expected to visit a specialist next week to undergo a fresh procedure — a radiofrequency nerve ablation.

The success of that procedure will dictate whether he plays Wimbledon or not.

“I’m going to be in Wimbledon if my body is ready to be in Wimbledon,” Nadal said. “That’s it. Wimbledon is not a tournament that I want to miss. I think nobody want to miss Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon.”

He said if the procedure doesn’t work, he’ll have to decide if he’s ready to undergo a major surgery with no guarantee that it will be successful and might require a prolonged recovery time.

But he did confirm he would not go through the whole process of getting injections daily to get him through Wimbledon.

“Wimbledon is a priority, always [has] been a priority. If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories? Yes. To play with anaesthetic injections? No. I don’t want to put myself in that position again. Can happen once, but no, is not a philosophy of life that I want to follow.

“So let’s see. I am always a positive guy, and I always expect things going the right way. So let’s be confident, and let’s be positive. Then let’s see what’s going on.”

Nadal’s victory came two days after his 36th birthday and made him the oldest title winner in the history of the clay-court tournament. The oldest champion in tournament history had been Andres Gimeno, who was 34 when he won in 1972.

Ruud led 3-1 in the second set, a deficit that spurred Nadal to raise his level — he took the last 11 games. Nadal’s six games lost Sunday are tied for his second fewest in a major final. He has won six major finals in which he has conceded fewer than 10 games, breaking a tie with Richard Sears for the most by any man in tennis history.

Given his age, and of more concern, the chronic pain in his left foot that has been an off-and-on problem for years, Nadal has said repeatedly in recent days that he can never be sure whether each match at Court Philippe Chatrier might be his last.

He played crisply and cleanly, accumulating more than twice as many winners as Ruud, 37 to 16. Nadal also committed fewer unforced errors, making just 16 to Ruud’s 26.

When it ended with a down-the-line backhand from Nadal, he chucked his racket to the red clay he loves so much and covered his face with the taped-up fingers on both of his hands.

The Spanish star’s first triumph in Paris came in 2005 at age 19. No man or woman ever has won the singles trophy at any major event more times than his 14 in Paris. And no man has won more Grand Slam titles than Nadal.

He is two ahead of rivals Roger Federer, who hasn’t played in almost a year after a series of knee operations, and Novak Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

For all that he has accomplished already, Nadal now has done something he never managed previously: He is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam thanks to titles at the Australian Open and French Open in the same season.

Nadal improved to 14-0 in finals at Roland Garros and 112-3 overall at his favorite tournament.

“You are a true inspiration for me, for everyone who follows tennis around the world,” said Ruud, a 23-year-old from Norway participating in his first Grand Slam final, “so I hope — we all hope — that you will continue for some more time.”

When the players met at the net for the prematch coin toss, the first chants of “Ra-fa! Ra-fa!” rang out in the 15,000-seat stadium. There would be more such choruses. Ruud heard his own support, especially when he briefly went up in the second set, with some in the stands marking points he won with drawn-out pronouncements of his last name, “Ruuuuuuud,” that sounded as if they might be booing.

Ruud considers Nadal his idol. He recalls watching all of Nadal’s past finals in Paris on TV. He has trained at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca.

They have played countless practice sets together there with nothing more at stake than bragging rights. Nadal usually won those, and Ruud joked the other day that’s because he was trying to be a polite guest.

The two had never met in a real match until Sunday, when a championship, money, ranking points, prestige and a piece of history were on the line. And Nadal demonstrated, as he has so often, why he’s known as the King of Clay — and among the game’s greatest ever.

“We all know what a champion you are, and today I got to feel how it is to play against you in a final. And it’s not easy,” Ruud said. “I’m not the first victim. I know that there have been many before.”

Nadal can now place this latest Coupe des Mousquetaires alongside the trophies he gathered at Roland Garros from 2005 to ’08, 2010 to ’14 and 2017 to ’20. He has also won the US Open four times and the Australian Open and Wimbledon twice apiece.

“For me, personally, it’s very difficult to describe the feelings that I have,” Nadal said. “It’s something that I, for sure, never believed — to be here at 36, being competitive again, playing in the most favorite court of my career, one more time in the final. It means a lot to me. Means everything.”

Caroline Garcia & Teammate Kristina Mladenovic Earn Second French Open Women’s Doubles Title

Six years later, Caroline Garcia is once again a French Open women’s doubles champion…

The 28-year-old part-Spanish French player and her compatriot Kristina Mladenovic produced an impressive comeback in the French Open women’s doubles final to lift their first team title since 2016.

Caroline Garcia, French Open, Roland Garros, Kristina MladenovicIn the French Open women’s doubles final, home favorites Garcia and Mladenovic recovered from a slow start to beat USA’s Cori Gauff and Jessica Pegula 2-6 6-3 6-2.

Garcia and Mladenovic, who lifted their first Grand Slam team title at Roland Garros in 2016, have now won their fifth team title. In 2016, Garcia and Mladenovic lifted four team titles. Six years after winning their first Grand Slam title as a pair, Garcia and Mladenovic teamed up again at Roland Garros.

Garcia and Mladenovic made it all the way once again and now they are 12-0 as a pair at Roland Garros.

Garcia and Mladenovic had the first break points of the match but they missed out on a total of five break points in the second game.

Garcia and Mladenovic paid the price for not closing in on their break points chances as Gauff and Pegula claimed the first break of the match in the third game to open a 2-1 lead. Garcia and Mladenovic missed out on two more break points in the sixth game, before Gauff and Pegula earned their second break in the seventh game to open a 5-2 lead.

In the eighth game, Gauff and Pegula routinely served out for the first set. After losing the first set, Garcia and Mladenovic bounced back at the start of the second set as they claimed back-to-back breaks and opened a 4-0 lead.

Gauff and Pegula refused to quit as they responded with back-to-back breaks and cut the deficit to 3-4. Blowing a two-break lead didn’t impact Garcia and Mladenovic, who earned their third break of the set in the eighth game, before serving out for a decider in the following game.

Gauff and Pegula were visibly down after losing the second set as Garcia and Mladenovic took the advantage of it and opened a 4-0 lead in the third set. Two breaks of serve were more than enough for Garcia and Mladenovic as they served out the eighth game to complete a big comeback win.

Marcelo Arevalo Becomes First Central American Man to Win Grand Slam Title with French Open Men’s Doubles Victory

Marcelo Arevalo has earned a place in tennis history…

The 31-year-old Salvadoran professional tennis player and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands won the French Open men’s doubles tennis championship by beating Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Austin Krajicek of the U.S. 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the final.

Marcelo Arevalo, Jean-Julien Rojer

According to the International Tennis Federation, Arevalo is the first man from Central America to win a Grand Slam title.

Meanwhile, 41-year-old Rojer is the oldest Grand Slam men’s doubles champion in the Open era. He also won the 2017 US Open title with Horia Tecau.

Arevalo and Rojer were seeded 12th. Dodig and Krajicek were not seeded.

Dodig and Krajicek held three championship points at 6-5 in the second set but were unable to convert any.

Arevalo had previously won five career ATP Tour doubles titles.

Rafael Nadal Edges Past Novak Djokovic to Reach French Open Semifinals

Rafael Nadal is one step closer to reclaiming his throne…

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis star, known as the King of Clay, claimed a quarterfinal victory over longtime rival Novak Djokovic that began in May and ended in June at Roland Garros.

Rafael NadalWith a mix of brilliant shot-making and his trademark resilience, Nadal got past the top-seeded defending French Open champion Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) to move a step closer to his 14th championship at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament and what would be a 22nd major trophy overall, adding to records that he already owns.

“One of those magic nights for me,” Nadal said.

The match began a little past 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, and concluded more than four hours later, after 1 a.m. Wednesday, June 1.

The bracket said this was a quarterfinal, but it felt like a final — from the quality of play to the quality of effort, from the anticipation that preceded it to the atmosphere that enveloped it.

The only missing ingredient: There was no trophy handed to the winner.

Nadal turns 36 on Friday, when he’ll face third-seeded Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. When the subject of Nadal’s future was brought up during his on-court interview, he smiled.

“See you, by the way, in two days,” Nadal said. “That’s the only thing that I can say.”

It’ll be difficult for any match the rest of the way to live up to this one.

“I lost to a better player today,” said Djokovic, who had won 22 sets in a row until the 49-minute opener against Nadal. “Had my chances. Didn’t use them. That’s it.”

This showdown was their 59th, more than any other two men have played against each other in the Open era. Nadal narrowed Djokovic’s series lead to 30-29 while improving to 8-2 against his rival at Roland Garros.

Nadal is now 110-3 for his career at the place. Two of those losses came against Djokovic, including in last year’s semifinals. This time, Nadal made sure Djokovic remains behind him in the Slam count with 20. Nadal broke their three-way tie with Roger Federer at that number by capturing the Australian Open in January, when Djokovic was not able to play because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Bernabe Zapata Miralles Defeats John Isner to Reach Fourth Round at French Open

Bernabe Zapata Miralles is continuing to make waves (and beat his personal best) at Roland Garros

The 25-year-old Spanish tennis player, a qualifier at this year’s tournament, defeated USA’s John Isner, the No 23 seed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 [5], 6-3 to move into the Round of 16 at the French Open.

Bernabe Zapata Miralles Zapata Miralles’ fourth round showing is now his best at a Grand Slam tournament to date. His previous best was the second round at the 2021 US Open.

Zapata Miralles, ranked No. 131 in the world, will next play Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the No 3 seed.

Zapata Mirallas defeated Israel’s Dudi Sela (6-3, 6-0), Portugal’s Gastao Elias (6-1, 6-1), Italy’s Luca Nardi (3-6, 6-4, 6-1), American wildcard Michael Mmoh (7-6 [7], 6-3, 7-5) and USA’s Taylor Fritz, the No 13 seed (3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3) to get to this point.

Earlier in the tournament, Isner, ranked No 26, edged out France’s Quentin Halys (7-6 [3], 4-6, 7-6 [1], 7-6 [6]) and French wildcard Gregoire Barrere (6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 [5]).

Rafael Nadal Starts Season with Impressive 18-0 Record

Rafael Nadal is still finding ways to impress after all these years…

Nursing a nagging foot injury, the 35-year-old Spanish professional tennis player became only the second player in ATP Tour history to start a season 18-0.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal edged past Reilly Opelka 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) on Wednesday in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Only Novak Djokovic has gotten off to better starts since 1990. The Serb went 26-0 to begin 2020 and 41-0 to open 2011.

“I can’t say it’s a dream because I even couldn’t dream about that three months ago, two months ago,” Nadal said. “I am just enjoying every single moment.”

Last year, Nadal’s playing time was interrupted by COVID-19 and injuries, creating doubt about his ability to recover well enough to maintain his exacting standards. But he won his record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January and has continued on a tear.

“I am just very happy to be playing tennis,” said Nadal, who turns 36 in June. “Today was a little bit worse than other days. It’s true that the last couple of days the foot has been bothering me a little bit more.”

Nadal has already withdrawn from the Miami Open that follows Indian Wells. He wants extra time to prepare for the clay court season that isn’t as punishing as hard courts.

Nadal rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the second set to lead 6-5. Opelka held after three deuces when Nadal netted a forehand chasing the American’s drop shot to force the second tiebreaker.

Nadal led 4-1 in the tiebreaker when Opelka struggled on his service returns. On his serve, though, the 6-foot-11 American closed to 4-3, hitting winners on a drop shot and a forehand.

Again on his serve, Opelka closed to 6-5.

But Nadal closed it out by pulling Opelka out of the court and the American’s backhand landed wide.

“It’s about trying to hit balls that you don’t take a lot of risks, but at the same time don’t allow him to go in and go for the shot,” Nadal said. “Is trying to find the right balance between these two things.”

There were no service breaks in the first set. Opelka fought off the only break point in the seventh game with a smash and forehand winner. Nadal held at love for 6-all, forcing the tiebreaker. Opelka led 3-2 with a forehand winner down the line. Nadal won the next five points, all on errors by Opelka, to take the set.

Nadal improved to 19-0 against American opponents since losing to John Isner at the 2017 Laver Cup.

 

Nadal, a three-time champion in the desert, advanced to the quarterfinals against wild-card Nick Kyrgios. The Australian advanced to his first ATP Tour quarterfinal since winning Washington in 2019 after 10th-seeded Jannik Sinner withdrew because of illness.

Rafael Nadal Defeats Cameron Norrie to Claim Mexican Open Title

Rafael Nadal continues his winning ways in the New Year…

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis star defeated Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to win the Mexican Open and extend his career-best start for a season to 15-0 as he won his 91st ATP title.

Rafael NadalNadal, who won his third title in 2022, including the Australian Open for his record 21st Grand Slam singles title, is three victories from tying Ivan Lendl‘s total of 94 for third place for most championships in the Open Era. Jimmy Connors leads with 109 and Roger Federer has 103.

“At the end of the day I’ve always said that this kind of records needs to be measured once your career is over,” Nadal said. “Today the most important thing is that I have won a prestigious tournament.”

The Mexican Open is an ATP 500-level tournament played on hard courts, and this year four of the top-five players in the world started in the draw: Daniil Medvedev (2), Alexander Zverev (3), Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) and Nadal (5).

Medvedev, who’ll rise to No. 1 in the rankings on Monday, lost to Nadal in the semifinals. Zverev was thrown out of the tournament for violently smashing his racket on the umpire’s chair moments after losing a doubles match, and Tsitsipas lost to Norrie in the other semifinal.

“[Acapulco] is a tournament that started with five of the top six players in the world,” Nadal said. “It was complicated, and I ended up taking the victory. Looking back, a few weeks ago this would have looked impossible. It’s amazing how things can change in such a short span, from not being able to practice and now to be where I am today.”

Nadal won for the fourth time in Acapulco (2005, 2013 and 2020), where he is a fan favorite.

He won his first title in Mexico when he was 18 and holds the record for the youngest winner in tournament history as well as the oldest at 35.

“It’s been a long career,” Nadal said. “The first time I came here, everything was new for me, and after all these years you start to appreciate more each victory than when you were an 18-year-old boy.”

Nadal said that his body is holding up well and that he is eager to play at Indian Wells, California, in a couple of weeks.

Norrie, who was on an eight-game winning streak, was trying to become the first British man to win the Mexican Open in its 29-year history.

“I played against him before, so I had an idea on how to play him, but I gave him a couple of easy points and he gave me nothing,” said Norrie. “It was little bit of lack of concentration, and I gave him the match.”

At the start of the match, Nadal had a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and went on to win the first set in 51 minutes.

In the second set, Nadal had a break in the first game, but Norrie returned it and appeared to be back into the match, but the Spaniard added breaks in the fifth and seventh games to take home the trophy.

Rafael Nadal Rallies to Win Australian Open & Claim Men’s Record 21st Grand Slam Title

Life is grand for Rafael Nadal

The 35-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, a renowned right-to-the-end competitor, fought back from two sets down defeat Daniil Medvedev to win the Australian Open and claim his record 21st Grand Slam title.

Rafael Nadal

With his dramatic 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 comeback win that lasted 5 hours, 24 minutes, Nadal set the men’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles.

Nadal now has one more major title than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, his long-time rivals in the so-called Big Three.

He was the only one of the three who had a chance to claim the record solo in Australia.

Federer is still recovering from knee surgery, and Djokovic was deported from Australia on the eve of the tournament because he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19.

It’s all history now that Nadal has become just the fourth man to win all four of the sport’s major titles at least twice.

“I was repeating to myself during the whole match, ‘I lost a lot of times here having chances, sometimes I was a little bit unlucky,'” Nadal said. “I just wanted to keep believing until the end.”

“Tonight has been unforgettable. I feel very lucky.”

Nadal was broken when serving for the championship for the first time at 5-4 in the fifth set, but he made no mistake two games later, converting the first of his championship points.

Taking everything into account, “the scenario, the momentum,” he said, “without a doubt probably the biggest comeback of my tennis career.

He added, “The most unexpected. And most surprising, I think, for everyone.”

Federer and Djokovic were watching, from a distance, and both used social media messages to offer congratulations to Nadal for breaking their three-way tie atop the men’s Grand Slam standings.

Nadal and Medvedev packed a lot of drama into the final that started Sunday night, was delayed in the 84-minute second set when a human rights activist jumped onto the court and finished close to 1:15 a.m.

Nadal was serving for the second set but was broken in that game. Then Medvedev had his moments to break again in the third set but admitted he got tight.

“Should have done better. Should have hit a winner,” Medvedev said. “Maybe would have won the match.”

“Tactically nothing changed,” he added, “but Rafa stepped up.”

Indeed, he did. And at 1:30 a.m. he stepped up onto the podium to give his victory speech.

“Good evening. No, good morning!” Nadal joked, looking at his watch.

In the background, Rod Laver, the aging Australian tennis great for whom Melbourne Park‘s main stadium is named, was holding up his smartphone to capture the scenes. A woman nearby held up a sign that stated: “Rafa is the GOAT.”

For now, in terms of men’s major titles at least, Nadal is the Greatest Of All Time.

Nadal praised Medvedev for the part he played in what eventually became the second-longest Australian Open final ever. Nadal’s loss to Djokovic a decade ago lasted 5:53.

Nadal’s 21st major title was even more remarkable considering he had only two matches under his belt in the second half of 2021 because he was sidelined with a chronic foot injury. He also overcame a bout of COVID-19.

“For me, it’s just amazing,” he said, adding that only six weeks ago, “I didn’t know if I’d be able to play on the tour again.”

Nadal won his first Australian Open title in 2009 and then lost four other finals here. His conversion rate in major finals is now 21 out of 29.

Medvedev, who was aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win his first two Grand Slam titles back-to-back, was ever-so-close to spoiling another 21st celebration.

Djokovic was chasing the same record at the US Open last year, and a calendar-year Grand Slam, when Medvedev beat him in straight sets in the final.

Federer also had his chance at 21, but Djokovic stopped that after saving match points en route to winning the 2019 Wimbledon final.

For Nadal, this was just the fourth time — and first since 2007 — he has rallied from two sets down to win a best-of-five-set match. It’s the first time it has happened at the Australian Open final since 1965.