Spaniard Rafael Nadal won his 13th French Open earlier this month, a victory which puts him level with his great rival Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam successes.
Nadal has trailed Federer on Grand Slam wins throughout his career. He now has the opportunity, not only to pass the Swiss, but to also hold the outright record for the most Grand Slam titles in the history of the men’s game.
At the age of 33, Nadal is showing no signs of slowing down. He has only Novak Djokovic ahead of him in the world rankings. The King of Clay proved too strong for the world number one in Paris as he prevailed in straight sets against the Serbian.
Nadal’s first opportunity to overtake Federer in the Grand Slam standings will come in the Australian Open in January. The man from Mallorca is 7.00 in the tennis betting at Betfair market for the event at Melbourne Park.
The opening Grand Slam of the calendar year has been won just once by Nadal so far. He was successful in the tournament in 2009, beating Federer in a classic contest in five sets. Despite that sole win, he has reached the final on five occasions, losing four of them.
Nadal’s last appearance in the final at Melbourne Park came in 2019 when he went down 3-6, 2-6, 3-6 to Djokovic. He will be desperate to get his hands on the trophy again in Australia.
No Signs of Losing Grip on French Open Domination
Roland-Garros has been really kind to Nadal over the last couple of decades and as we saw at the event this year, Nadal remains the most dominant player on the tour on clay.
Nadal will be relishing the chance to go for a 14th title at the tournament in 2021. He did not drop a set in the event in 2020. His last defeat at Roland-Garros came in 2015 when on that occasion Djokovic was successful over the Spaniard in the quarter-final.
Federer proved in the 2018 Australian Open that the leading three players in the world can still continue to win Grand Slam titles in their mid-30s. The former world number one was 36 when he lifted the trophy in Melbourne, becoming the oldest winner of one of tennis’ big four tournaments since Ken Rosewall in 1972.
Will the Next Gen Stars Strike In 2021?
The immediate threat to Nadal in 2021 is undoubtedly Djokovic as the world number one remains the best all-round player in the game. The Spaniard will be fully aware that next year could be the time some of the next generation players make their mark in the Grand Slam events.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are all in their early 20s and already inside the top 10 of the world rankings. All three of those players have proved they can beat Djokovic and Nadal, however, they now need to deliver in the major events. A new year brings fresh opportunities so it will be interesting to see if any of the young stars on the ATP Tour can become the latest addition to the Grand Slam winners club. Dominic Thiem is also a threat after winning the US Open.
Nadal will already be preparing for the new season so expect to see him in great shape as he looks to carry the momentum he gained in the French Open into the early stages of 2021.