2005-2015: Rafael Nadal celebrates a decade of reign marked by nine victories and a few other things.

2005-2015: This is a year like no other for Rafael Nadal, who celebrates a decade of reign marked by nine victories and only one bum note. It's a wonderful opportunity to return on this mad period of domination.

 

... 68 victories in 69 games played on clay in Paris.

 

... Only 1 defeat in a decade, against the Swede Robin Soderling in the fourth round of the 2009 edition (6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6).

 

... At his debut in 2005, he was only 19, already a favourite and he didn't disappoint.

 

... A near perfect 2007 edition, with a single set conceded in the tournament in the final against Roger Federer (6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4).

 

... A really perfect 2008 edition this time, with only victories in 3 sets and an average of two games per set conceded to his opponents, from Bellucci in the first round to Federer in the finals, swept 6-1, 6-3, 6 -0!

 

... Three tournaments played as world number 1.

 

... Ten participations and as many slightly embarrassing birthdays celebrated on the 3rd of June during the tournament, with candles to blow out with an always tight smile.

 

... One equipment manufacturer: Nike.

 

... A significant clothing evolution, with the 2009 turning point when he abandoned the ugly combo capris pants/sleeveless t-shirt for a more sober shorts/t-shirt.

 

... Blue, red, green, gradient, white... and a colour to forget: the 2009 pink.

 

... His eternal bandana holding his hair, a little shorter today than at his debut

 

... A record against him is rare: the 144 mph of John Isner's service in 2011.

 

... That same Isner who scared him during the same match of 2011, with a first round very complicated eventually won in 5 sets, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4.

 

... Conversely, his easiest game of the decade was in Paris in 2012 and a 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 against Juan Monaco.

 

... The gradual disappearance of Argentine players in the second week...

 

... The end of the ancient figures of the tour: Moya, Nalbandian, Henman, Grosjean, Mantilla, Gaudio, Ferrero, Safin, Bjorkman, Puerta, Coria...

 

... No French in the final.

 

... A handover in 2005, his first Roland Garros corresponding to the last of Andre Agassi.

 

... The emergence of a certain Novak Djokovic, out of the qualifications in 2005 and defeated in the second round of the tournament by Guillermo Coria.

 

... Some physical problems but nothing to really stop him.

 

... Beautiful blisters anyway, especially in 2013 where he finished his two weeks with bandages on almost all his left hand fingers.

 

... Seven different winners in women since his debut: from Henin to Sharapova through Ivanovic, Kuznetsova, Schiavone, Li Na and Serena Williams.

 

... Beautiful speeches, never in French though...

 

 

…A few tears, like after the 2014 finale.

 

 

... A real vexation during his defeat in 2009, when his clan lived badly the boos of a Parisian public called "stupid" by Toni Nadal.

 

... Insane rallies, shots out of nowhere, slides galore and plenty of clenched fists accompanied by a "vamos! "

 

... More and more OCDs: the bottle, the towel, the shorts, the hair behind the ears, the bouncing ball...

 

... Three French presidents, two Kings of Spain.

 

... Three Spanish championships and the Champions League won by his Real Madrid over the period.

 

... An anthology match to remember: the confrontation against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the 2013 tournament, with an epic victory in 4 hours and 37 minutes 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9- 7.

 

 

... A favourite status he always had and still defends this year, despite the Djokovic threat...

 

By Régis Delanoë