Match points: Nadal vs Thiem
Eleven amazing facts about Rafa’s record-extending “Undecima” at Roland-Garros.
By winning his 11th title here, Nadal has become only the second player in history to win 11 singles titles at a single Grand Slam event, equalling Margaret Court’s record set at the Australian Open when she won seven straight titles between 1960 and 1966, three more between 1969 and 1971 and a final triumph in 1973.
Rafa’s triumphs have come in three spells too, starting with a four-win streak between 2005 and 2008 and then another five between 2010 and 2014. The bad news for his opponents? He’s now started another streak, having won the last two titles... and, doubtless, counting.
Rafa is the only man ever to have won 11 titles at the same event - and he has now done this at three separate tournaments, having also won 11 times in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Martina Navratilova’s all-time record of 12 wins in Chicago between 1978 and 1992 will be his next target.
Rafa has won all 11 finals he has contested at Roland-Garros and no man has even taken him to five sets during that run. Altogether, he has lost just six sets in Roland-Garros finals. Even more incredibly, he’s lost only 25 sets in total during his Roland-Garros career and didn’t lose a single one in either his 2008, 2010 or 2017 campaigns.
Never mind 11, this was win number 111 in best-of-five-set matches on clay for Nadal - and he’s only ever lost twice during that same period. This was his 86th victory against two losses at Roland-Garros.
Only two men can make the claim of being a Rafa tamer at Roland-Garros: Swede Robin Soderling in the round of 16 in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals.
Nadal, in his 14th tournament, is the leading performer in Roland-Garros history with his 86-2 record. That’s 21 more wins here than Roger Federer (65-16), Novak Djokovic (63-13) and Guillermo Vilas (58-17).
Rafa has beaten every opponent he has faced at Roland-Garros during ‘La Undecima’ run - and no-one can boast a winning record against him here. Robin Soderling won famously in 2009 but lost on three other occasions and while Djokovic beat him in 2015, that only came after six defeats at Rafa’s hands. Even Roger Federer, his greatest rival, has a 0-5 record here against Nadal.
Nadal’s ‘Undecima’ was his 57th career clay-court title - that’s eight more than any other man in the Open era, eclipsing Vilas’s total of 49.
At 24, Dominic Thiem, Rafa’s unfortunate opponent on Sunday, was the youngest Roland-Garros men’s finalist since Rafa himself in 2010 - the year in which Nadal became a five-time champion here.
In 2005, when Nadal started his title-winning run here, Jacques Chirac was still the President of France, George W. Bush was the US President and the video-sharing website YouTube was founded.