Considered by many not only the best tennis player but also the best athlete in history, we are talking about Rafael Nadal, currently in fifth place in the ATP. It is always news in the world of tennis, but it has been more so these days, in which he has been proclaimed the winner of the Australian Open after defeating the Russian Daniil Medvedev after a night match that lasted nothing more and nothing less than 5 hours and 20 minutes, the result being 3-2 in favour of Nadal (2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5). But it is not that Rafa Nadal won that match, but how he won it. He had to come back from 2-0 in favour of the Russian, in a poor state of form (since he was coming out of an injury) and at 35 years of age (10 years older than his opponent).
He is the champion of this tournament for the second time in his career, 13 years after having done it for the first time, when he defeated Roger Federer in 2009 also in 5 sets. We are talking about an athlete who is made of another cloth, the material in which great champions are forged. It is not only his track record in his extensive career as a tennis player, but it is also his dedication, his courage, his mental strength, with which he faces each of his matches, how he fights each point, each game, each set, making people go crazy and forcing his opponents to fail.
He is not the most technically gifted on the circuit, even though he has evolved a lot since his beginnings (of pure claw and strength with a mediocre serve) until today, but he makes up for it with his physical and mental strength.
However, of his record, we must highlight his 21 Grand Slams, beating his immediate pursuers by 1 (Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic), his 18 consecutive years winning 2 Grand Slams each of those years, and his 13 Roland Garros titles won between 2005 and 2020, thus proclaiming himself the absolute King of the clay courts. He is the player who holds the record for consecutive Roland Garros wins with 5, from 2010 to 2014.
Rafa Nadal is the 6th player in the world in the history of the ATP who has remained number 1 for more weeks in the Ranking, with a total of 209 weeks in that position, behind Jimmy Connors (with 268) and ahead of John McEnroe (with 170). Also, as an Olympic athlete, he was won the tennis gold medal in the individual medal in Beijing 2008 and the doubles in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Finally, a few statistics of Rafa sports life: In general, he has won 90 titles with 1038 games won and 209 lost, thus having 83% of victories. These titles are distributed as follows:
Clay courts: 464 won - 43 lost, 91,5% of victories, 62 titles
Grass: 71 won - 20 lost, 78% of victories, 4 titles
Fast courts: 501 won - 140 lost, 78% of victories, 24 titles
Of all of them, 21 titles have been Grand Slams (298 won - 41 lost, 88% of victories) and 36 have been in the ATP World Tour Masters (398 won -83 lost, 82% of victories).