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2022 French Open could be Nadal’s finest hour on clay courts yet
Monday, 02/07/2022
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If you had sat down with Rafa Nadal on Christmas morning and asked him if he would be the Australian Open champion by the end of January, he may have said it was an unlikely prospect. Not impossible of course, but certainly a daunting task given that the Spaniard had challengers in every part of his rearview mirror that was threatening to overtake him.

Daniil Medvedev had, of course, finished 2021 by winning the US Open at Flushing Meadows after stunning Novak Djokovic in straight sets and looked to be the man who was finally able to put the old guard out to pasture.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, who had won three of the four grand slams in 2021 and only missed out on a clean sweep after Medvedev, as mentioned, shocked the world to win the US Open. It looked for all intents and purposes that Nadal would need a favorable tailwind and a stroke or two of luck if he was to fly out of Melbourne as the Australian Open Champions. After all, his last grand slam win came 15 months prior and his time seemed to be up without the rub of the green.

As it turned out, Nadal didn’t get as much of a handy tailwind as he did a hurricane behind him upon arrival in Melbourne. Indeed, Djokovic’s sudden departure and a friendly draw to the final meant he was within touching distance of a 21st grand slam title without really having broken a sweat. That was to change in the final, however, after he had to put in a never seen before herculean effort to come back from two sets down to beat Medvedev.

It was one of tennis’ standout moments of any era and ultimately it was a win that would have put the wind back into Nadal’s sails heading into the year’s second grand slam at Roland-Garros. Nadal is, of course, no stranger to success in Paris having won this event thirteen times and unsurprisingly, goes into the 2022 edition as the outright favorite in the latest tennis betting markets for the French Open.

There is, however, a reason to believe that this could be the finest hour for the man they call the ‘King of Clay’ at the French Open.

Indeed, despite being the bookies’ favorite, Nadal will have to deliver a performance for the ages if he is to keep Medvedev and Djokovic at bay. You could even say that the days of Nadal only needing to pitch up at the French Open to win it are over, given that Djokovic could dethrone him in Paris in 2021 during a crushing final defeat.

Rafa Nadal will know as much, which should mean we see the fiery Spaniard bring all of his experience to the hard clay courts and deliver a show that will take the watching world’s breath away. Yes, with fizzing backhands into the famous crumbling red clay and dominant serves that kick up dust off the court, the 35-year-old has all the know-how and skill to bring the French Open to its knees for an unprecedented fourteenth time.