It would seem that the only reliable way to beat Rafael Nadal in a clay court tennis match is to have the match on some other surface.
Nadal won his 11th Barcelona Open title with a coronation victory over unheralded 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, which would seem to bode well for an 11th French Open victory for Nadal when the French Open gets underway in Paris.
Nadal has the same number of consecutive clay court wins, 19, as his opponent in the final at Barcelona has years to his life.
Eleven seems to be the magic number for Rafa this season, as the week prior to the win on his home ground, the won his 11th Monte Carlos Masters.
Against the Greek teenager, Nadal dropped only three game in a 6 – 2, 6 – 1 victory.
Nadal’s statistics on clay are borderline absurd. He was already the record holder for consecutive set wins on clay and he only extended that record, which has now ascended to 46. It would almost seem as though he could call time on 46, start over, and then set a new mark of a nice, round 50 sets.
The last time he lost on clay was during the Italian Open in Rome last year.
He told the Associated Press, “It’s very difficult to describe how to win 11 titles at one tournament.”
Nadal’s prowess on clay would seem to be challenged only by his ability to provide the understatement.
“To win 11 Monte Carlos and 11 Barcelonas is something I couldn’t imagine doing. I’m just enjoying every week and the fact I’m playing in a tournament that I enjoy so much means a lot to me,” Nadal said.
Only four players top Nadal for titles. The recent win tired him with John McEnroe, with only Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl in front of him. He would seem to be a certainty to catch and pass Connors and Lendl and he enjoys a five-year advantage in age to Federer.