Just a year ago Rafael Nadal was considering retirement. Now, he’s surpassed his colleagues with a record-breaking 21 Grand Slam titles. Here, we look back at five of his greatest moments in tennis.
In a five-set epic in 2009, he claimed victory over Roger Federer in a thrilling match, marking the first time Nadal had a Grand Slam title on every surface, including clay and grass.
In 2008, Nadal cemented his name in the history books by tying with Bjorn Borg as the only two men in the Open era to win four consecutive French Open titles. After defeating Mariano Puerta in the 2005 French Open final, he then went on to beat Roger Federer in three straight French Open finals from 2006 to 2008, never needing more than four sets.
After victory at the Australian and US Open in 2009 and 2010, the Olympic gold enabled Nadal to wrap up the Career Golden Slam, an accomplishment that few tennis players have achieved throughout the sport’s history.
Having won at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and even an Olympic medal, there was one grand slam that eluded Nadal: the US Open – the last Slam of the season. Nadal changed this in 2010 when he took on Novak Djokovic at the US Open final, taking out the Serbian in four sets to complete the Career Golden Slam and one of the most remarkable seasons by any player in history.
After nearly five hours of play in what is the longest men’s final in Wimbledon history, Nadal survived a back and fourth thriller to claim victory against Federer. Many consider it to be one of the greatest finals to have ever been played.