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Top five male players with most French Open titles in Open Era

Published at :June 6, 2022 at 11:52 PM
Modified at :June 8, 2022 at 3:52 AM
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ADITYA RAJ


The list features some of the most iconic stars of the sport.

The French Open just reached its climax on Sunday, The men's final saw a masterclass from clay-court magician Rafael Nadal. In the showpiece, the veteran was pitted against first-time Grand Slam finalist Casper Ruud. Unfortunately, for Ruud, the final was something that he would most likely look to forget.

Right from start to finish, it was a full Rafael Nadal show. The Spaniard made Ruud look out of sorts at times. Even then the first two sets were respectful. The final set saw Nadal hitting some spectacular forehands and backhands. The shots were so good that Casper could only watch rooted on the spot.

The Phillipe Chatrier court was witnessing poetry in motion. Ruud wasn't wrong when he called himself one of Rafa's many "victims" at Roland Garros. Because that's what he was reduced to on court. Helpless, vulnerable and exposed to Nadal's onslaught. So, following yet another Grand Slam win for the Spaniard, we are going to look at the players with most French Open titles in the Open Era.

5. Gustavo Kuerten (3)

Gustavo Kuerten's tennis career was plagued with injuries. Something that ultimately made his retire from top tier tennis in 2008. Injuries kept him out from many tournaments between 2002 and 2004 and also in 2008. However within that short period, Kuerten was able to win three French Open titles.

The former World No. 1 Brazilian surprised the world with his 1997 win. He was the second lowest-ranked player to win a major. Moreover, he also became the first Brazilian to do so. Furthermore, he also defeated defending champion Yevgeny Kafalnikov in the quarter-finals in a five-set battle (6-2, 5-7, 2-6, 6-0, 6-4). However, in the final, "Guga" made quick work of his Spanish opponent Sergi Bruguera (6-3, 6-4, 6-2).

The Florianopolis man added two more titles consecutively in 2000 and 2001.

4. Ivan Lendl (3)

The 1984 French Open men's final saw a clash of tennis heavyweights. Top seed John McEnroe and second seed Ivan Lendl went head-to-head in that encounter. McEnroe was in sublime form that year, while Lendl had the championship curse. He had made it to four Grand Slam finals till then. Unfortunately for him none went his way.

This match also seemed to be going the same way, as Lendl was two sets down and facing certain defeat. However, as luck would have it, McEnroe ended up losing his concentration for the American to capitalize. The match finally ended with a 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 scoreline in favour of the American. Till today, it is considered as one of the biggest turnarounds in Grand Slams.

Lendl's last French Open title victory came in 1987 against Mats Wilander.

3. Mats Wilander (3)

Mats Wilander made it count on his debut senior appearance at the French Open. The Swede picked up impressive wins over Ivan Lendl and fifth seed Vitas Gerulaitis on his way to his title. He also beat fourth seed Argentinian Jose Luis Clerc (semi-final) and third seed (final) to make it a historic win .

Wilander's second French Open victory came in 1985. He beat Ivan Lendl in the final in four sets (3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2). His final French Open singles win came in 1988 over Henri Leconte.

2. Bjorn Borg (6)

Bjorn Borg was one of the most successful players on clay. His powerful strokes from the baseline and ability to land his shots with topspin made him a formidable foe on the surface. His four consecutive wins at Roland Garros (1978-1981) was the first-of-its-kind for a male player in the Open Era.

Even though Borg's victory against Lendl in the 1988 final is the most talked about, it was his debut victory in 1974 over Manuel Orantes that showed his true character as a player. Trailing at 2-0 in the opening sets, any first time finalist would get nervous. Borg however was built different. Not only did he make a comeback, but did it in sheer style. Borg allowed Oranrtes just two game points in the last three sets.

Eventually he sealed the deal with a 2-6, 6-7, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 victory. The day marked the arrival of a new star in tennis.

1. Rafael Nadal (14)

Now here is a man whose achievements at Roland Garros are unprecedented. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the French Open is played to see who plays Rafael Nadal in the final. Because every challenger faces the same consequences. Nadal's 14 French Open title wins is a record in a single Grand Slam.

No one does it better on clay than Rafa. He even avenged last year's semi-final loss against Novak Djokovic this year. Nadal defeated the World No. 1 in four sets (6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6) in the quarter-finals. In the semi-final, he received a walkover from Germany's Alexander Zverev. He was leading 1-0 at that point. The final again was a one-sided affair over Casper Ruud.

Rafa is a hard to solve puzzle on clay. He also extended his record to 22 Grand Slam wins courtesy of his Roland Garros performance.

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