One of the toughest tasks in sports history is arguably defeating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. You ask why? Well, Noavk Djokovic might be the best to explain at this moment right now. He was unbeatable in 2020, which included a Grand Slam win at the start of the year and a clay-court win in Rome a fortnight ago where an unprepared Nadal had lost in the quarters. It was touted to be his toughest test to stretch his invincibility in 2020, and Nadal showed exactly why.
For starters, despite a neck-and-neck battle on the Parisian terre battue, Nadal registered a bagel in the very first set after 45 minutes of grilling. His domination continued in the second with a 6-2 win. Until then, Djokovic, the man who did not lose a match point this year, had failed to win any point on his return games and was yet to break serve. Nadal did blink once in the final set, perhaps falling for the pressure that the world number one had created with a few impressive returns, but he maintained composure to serve it out to love with an ace as the Spaniard continued his reign in Paris with a record 13th major and equalling the one record that has been the cynosure of his contest, let alone the tournament - equalling Roger Federer's all-time Grand Slam tally.
Here are all the numbers behind Rafael Nadal's record 13th French Open haul at Roland Garros...
20 Nadal now stands alongside Federer for the most number of Grand Slam trophies since the Open Era. This the first time that the two have the same number of majors since they both started out in 5, July 2003, the day before the latter's maiden Grand Slam haul at Wimbledon. Djokovic still stands second with 17 majors, followed by Pete Sampras (14).
13 Nadal is now the first player in Open Era, male or female, to win a single tour-level event 13 times, surpassing Martina Navratilova who won the WTA event in Chicago 12 times. In the men's list, Nadal's French Open tally is followed by his achievements in Monte Carlo and Barcelona where he has won 11 apiece. Nadal also extended the record for most trophies at a single Grand Slam event in Open Era, male or female. The next on the list is Navratilova with nine Wimbledon trophies.
100-2 The win helped the Spaniard to complete a century of wins at Roland Garros, a feat no other player, male or female has achieved in French Open. The triple-digit has however been achieved by players at all the other Grand Slam events. Federer has won 102 matches at the Australian Open and 101 at the SW19. Nadal's only two defeats came against Robin Soderling in 2009 and against Djokovic in 2015.
6 Nadal became the first man in the Open Era to win six majors after turning 30, surpassing Djokovic who had equalled the feat after his eighth Australian Open haul this year. Serena Williams holds the record with 10 titles after turning 30.
4 Nadal won his 13th French Open without dropping a set. Only thrice in his career has he achieved this feat - 2008, 2010 and 2017 - taking his tally to four - the most by a male tennis player in Open Era across majors, surpassing Bjorn Borg (1976 Wimbledon and 1978, 1980 French Open).
2 Nadal also became the second man after Djokovic in Open Era to win a Grand Slam title in three different decades - 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.
14 Nadal has now won at least one Grand Slam title in 14 of the past 16 years (except 2015-16). Besides the 13 at Roland Garros, he has won four US Open trophies, two at the All England Club and one in Australian Open.
29-27 Nadal reduced the gap in his head-to-head rivalry with Djokovic which includes 7-1 lead at Roland Garros and 3-0 in the French Open final. He also leads on clay with 18 wins in 25 meetings, 5-4 in Grand Slam finals and 10-6 in majors.