At the Net: Rafa Garros!

 

The Sports Network

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - If you were looking for a new men's French Open champion in 2014, then better luck next year.

This past weekend, the unstoppable Rafael Nadal did it again in Paris by winning yet another French Open title, an emotional victory that brought the great champion to tears on the 15th and final day of the fortnight.

The "King of Clay" is becoming a walking record book at the circuit's lone clay court major, and maybe the reigning world No. 1s plaudits have no end in sight because he's still only 28 years old after celebrating his latest birthday just last week in the French capital.

Let's take a look at just what Rafa's been accomplishing after overcoming former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in four sets in Sunday's 1-versus-2 finale in the "City of Light" to once again get his teeth on the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Nadal became the first-ever player, male or female, to win the French Open five years in a row. Prior to this year, he'd titled in Paris four years straight on two separate occasions.

He became the first-ever male player to capture one Grand Slam event nine times. Martina Navratilova was a nine-time Wimbledon winner on the women's side.

Rafa improved to 14-6 in his career Grand Slam finals and tied Pete Sampras for second place on the men's all-time list for major titles. Only Roger Federer (17) has more.

The mighty Mallorcan also became the first man to reach nine finals at one major event and is riding a record 35-match winning streak at Roland Garros.

The Spanish great played in a 20th Grand Slam final, second only to Federer's record of 21.

He's won at least one Grand Slam title a record 10 years running. The old record was eight, shared by Bjorn Borg, Sampras and Federer.

Nadal improved his overall record at the French to a gaudy 66-1, with his only loss coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round five years ago on a day when the fierce Spaniard was battling not only a big Swedish opponent but also a set of bad knees.

The Nadal-Djokovic rivalry is the only one to have played out in all four Grand Slam finals, with Nadal improving to 4-3 in those particular affairs.

Nadal is a perfect 6-0 versus Djokovic at RG and 9-3 in their overall Grand Slam matchups.

Rafa has appeared in three straight major finals (2-1) and 12 of the last 17 Grand Slam title bouts, including eight championships.

Nadal's fifth in the Open Era with 64 overall titles.

He's won every major championship at least twice, except for the Aussie Open, and is a career Golden Slam champion (all four Slams and an Olympic gold medal). He's also a four-time Davis Cup champ (which is four more than Federer, who's won every major at least twice except for the French).

Nadal and Mats Wilander are still the only two players in history who have won at least two Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces -- hard court, grass, and clay.

Rafa earned a men's French Open record $2.25 million with his latest championship and is second an the all-time money list with more than $70 million (second only to Federer's $81 million).

And just for the record, Nadal's still 23-10 lifetime against "the greatest player of all time," Federer, including a 6-2 record in Grand Slam finals.

Rafa will attempt to win a third Wimbledon title in the coming weeks and make amends for his shocking first-round loss against a 135th-ranked Steve Darcis at the All England Club a year ago.

Read more Tennis stories from the Miami Herald

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