Rafael Nadal has reached the pinnacle of his career and he is brimming with energy. Though Nadal’s fitness was doubted at the time of his quarter-final match against Novak Djokovic and it was known that he was not in particularly good form. He was playing catch up after his recent rib stress fracture and competing after his chronic foot ailment flared up. Earlier Nadal expressed his uncertainty about playing in the future as his disease known as the Müller-Weiss syndrome has become chronic with time. However Nadal showed his class when he overcame all his difficulties and he rose to win his 14th French Open 2022 title that also happened to be his 22nd grand slam title. By doing so Nadal has now created a clear buffer between himself and his rivals and he is halfway to the single-season grand slam.
To his credit Nadal has been consistent, even now that his own grand slam haul is greater than that of those neighbours. He now says that these debates are not that important as he, Djokovic and Federer each achieved things beyond their wildest dreams and reached a very equal level and that his daily motivation comes from elsewhere. The foundation of Nadal’s success for so long has been his attitude; his acceptance of each circumstance, the optimism and composure with which he tackles adversity and the perspective he has maintained under pressure. At 36 years old, it takes a different role. It will both guide him as he attempts to extend his career for as long as possible, but also when recognising that he has reached his limits.
Iga Swiatek arrived at the French Open as heavily favoured to win a women’s grand slam title as any player since the last peak of Serena Williams, and she knew it. Over the past two weeks, she navigated all of the pressure and emotions and in a spectacle reminiscent of the great champions before her, it only made her stronger. Swiatek finished the job with a final supreme demonstration of her dominance, overwhelming and outplaying Coco Gauff 6-1, 6-3 to win her second grand slam title at the French Open where she also won her first in 2020. This victory is the crown on top of her astounding run, which stands at 35 wins in a row and counting. She has won six consecutive titles.
Along with her winning streak, which equals Venus Williams’ 21st-century record, Swiatek is now 21-2 at the French Open, the third-best record in the women’s tournament, having won the event twice in her first four years as a senior. Such is her superiority over the rest of the field, Swiatek will nearly have double the ranking points as the new world No 2, Anett Kontaveit. The intimidating aura Swiatek has generated over the past four months was reflected in the audience’s desperate cheers for Gauff. After an unforced error in the opening point, a spectator shouted out “Coco, it’s not finished” in French to general laughter. When she double-faulted on the second point, the crowd gave a long, pitying ovation as if Gauff was already two points from defeat. TW