Finally, a tie in the most number of Grand Slam titles has been achieved.
When Rafael Nadal landed an ace out wide to garner the championship point against Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final, not only did he achieve a record-extending 13th Coupe des Mousquetaires but he also equalled one of the most important records in tennis history.
A Tie In The (Tennis) Record Books
Indeed, the Spanish tennis maestro has finally gained an equal footing with his longtime rival, Roger Federer — who has held the overwhelming lead in the category for more than a decade, with the unprecedented record dating back to Federer’s 15th major championship victory at Wimbledon in 2009.
Ever since his first Roland Garros victory in his tournament debut in 2005, Nadal has been steadily chasing the Swiss tennis player’s record by racking consistent wins (particularly at Roland Garros) over time.
In fact, the Spaniard has claimed 13 out of his 20 major Grand Slam crowns on the Parisian Terre battue. Nadal’s remaining Grand Slam titles then came from visits to Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, as well as his sole title win at the Australian Open in 2009. A string of successful outings at the US Open (at Flushing Meadows) then round off a most impressive resume of Grand Slam titles.
On the flip side, Federer has had his fair share of success spread across three major Grand Slam events. The Basel native has won 19 of his 20 titles across Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the US Open — with 8 titles, 6 titles, and 5 titles won at each of the events respectively. The Swiss completed his Career Grand Slam in 2009, ironically at Roland Garros — the location whereupon his eternal rival would finally equal his championships 11 years later.
Throughout their storied rivalry, the two men have also clashed in a record-equalling nine Grand Slam finals, with Nalda coming out on top six out of those nine times. Those particular meetings on the court have also not only influenced their championship haul, but also the tally of their greatest rival — with either one having denied each other championship gold on numerous occasions.
But despite their near-misses (against each other and also other top players), both Nadal and Federer are the only two players who have enjoyed success at this level. And after denying the Spaniard the championship haul tie in the 2017 Australian Open final, Federer told his close friend that “there are no draws in tennis, but I would have been very happy to accept one and share it with Rafa tonight.”
That may not have been an option then, but the pair of tennis geniuses are now standing side-by-side in the history books.
The burning question then is: Who among the two is going to achieve the record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title first?