Striking similarities in Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek's numbers at Roland Garros

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 at 11:51
There is a general consensus that Rafael Nadal is the best player in history on clay. And that Roland Garros is like his backyard, a tournament he has won 14 times. Currently, Iga Swiatek has impressive numbers on this surface and especially in the second Grand Slam of the year.
But... Can the Pole come close to the Spaniard's numbers? Is he on his way? What were Rafa's achievements at the same age? To all these questions, we will answer below, as there are less than two weeks left for the start of the French Open and the world No. 1 will be the big favorite to win her fourth! Roland Garros at the age of 23.
Let's start there. Rafael Nadal won his fourth title in Paris at the age of 22. But at 23 he didn't win it, as it was in 2009, when Robin Soderling knocked him out in the round of 16 and Roger Federer went on to win the title. Therefore, if Swiatek wins the trophy in a few weeks, he will have won exactly the same number of times at the same age.
It must be said that Iga is proving to be in exceptional form in this tour on clay. She has lost just one match, in the semifinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix against Elena Rybakina, the eventual winner. Since then, she won the Madrid Open title, her first trophy in the Spanish capital, after beating Aryna Sabalenka in a duel for the history books, saving three match balls.
In addition, he has reached the semis of the Rome Masters with a sweep. He has not yet lost a set in the tournament. Her penultimate rival for the chance to lift her third title (after 2021 and 2022) in the Italian city will be Coco Gauff. It could be her fourth WTA 1000 on clay, and the first time she would do the Madrid-Rome double.
At the same age, Nadal had won no less than 10 ATP Masters 1000. It must be said that he had the advantage that in the men's circuit there are three events of this category, while in the women's circuit there are two. Even so, in this aspect, the Spaniard has a considerable margin.
Returning to Roland Garros, Iga has a record of 28 wins and only 2 losses, or 93%. Nadal, meanwhile, had a 31-match unbeaten streak before losing to Soderling. If Swiatek wins her fourth Roland Garros, it would equal the number held by Justine Henin, placing her third in the Open Era behind Chris Evert (with 7) and Steffi Graf (with 6). Everything seems to indicate that the Pole will end up becoming the player with the most trophies on Parisian soil.
Rafa, is the tennis player who has won Roland Garros the most times since 2012, when he was 26 years old. To match him, Iga will have to win six in a row, something Nadal has never done, as his record is 5 in a row. In closing, we all know the admiration Iga Swiatek has for Rafael Nadal. And when we see his numbers on clay, and especially Roland Garros, we understand that the fanaticism goes beyond being as a spectator, it is also about a special and different player on the surface.

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