King of Clay as he is called, Rafael Nadal swept to a historic 12th French Open title on Sunday defeating Austrian Dominic Thiem in the final.
No player had ever won 12 titles at the same Major before and after the tough battles he went through alone during the last 18 months, where even he began questioning his abilities, the Spaniard’s latest win was extra special. He now trails Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 by just two Slams.
Very few could have dreamt of this insane record at one Grand Slam and paying tribute to his latest Roland Garros win, his kit sponsor Nike posted an advert which shows how far Nadal has come.
It begins with a clip from 16-year-old Nadal’s surprising win against fellow Spaniard Carlos Moya at the 2003 Hamburg Masters, the early signs where he showed the world what was in store for him. Moya is Nadal’s coach for the last couple of years now.
A drop shot here, a forehand there, a tweener out of nowhere..the video shows how Nadal breaks a sweat to earn each of his points in different matches.
The advert ends with a footage of the same match at the start, where the commentator questions, “Is he going to play every point like that?” We still ask that question about him, almost two decades later.