It’s not often Novak Djokovic is handed a bagel set. But that’s what happened on Sunday 11th October on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Courtesy of Rafael Nadal.
That 6-0 set was the first of three won by Nadal to round off an unusual and delayed edition of Roland Garros 2020. Postponed by the pandemic and played in front of just 1,000 fans, the event reached what has become its natural conclusion.
Another Grand Slam for Nadal, bringing him level with Roger Federer on 20 apiece. Yet this was not the only headline written this past fortnight.
Nadal holding the Coupe des Mousquetaires aloft once more… we’ve all seen that before. His record is out of this world.
But just as that has become a defining image at Roland Garros, so too has seeing a stream of different female players winning the ladies’ championship.
This year it was Iga Swiatek, a 19-year-old Polish player who stormed through her side of the draw. She cast aside 2018 champion Simona Halep in the fourth round for the loss of just three games.
Will Swiatek back up her win with further Slams? Some say yes… but we must wait and see whether the more familiar pattern of first-time Slam winners continues next year.
Serena Williams remains on 23 Slams – the biggest haul in the modern tennis era. She wants to equal Margaret Court’s tally of 24 Slams but withdrew from Roland Garros 2020 ahead of the second round with an Achilles tendon problem.
She’s made four final appearances – two in 2018 and two the following year – since returning from maternity leave. On each occasion, she lost to the better player.
Her search for another Slam goes on. She needs two more to stand alone at the top of the table. Yet she faces the same problem as Roger Federer; both celebrated their 39th birthday this year. Both are running out of time to add more to their tally.
Many wondered whether COVID-19 regulations would mar the tournament. Yet it marked another stunning chapter in modern tennis history.
Nadal took his own record of the most wins at a tournament into the stratosphere. Who knows where 2021 will take us?
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