During the spookiest month of the year, Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal managed to turn 13 into a very lucky number. The French Open concluded on Sunday, October 11, with Nadal winning his 13th championship in the men’s singles competition. This was the last of the three Grand Slam tennis championships played in 2020, with the Australian Open running on schedule back in January, the US Open held in early September, and Wimbledon cancelled. The French Open, AKA Roland Garros, was supposed to be held in May/June, but was reluctantly moved to October amid Coronavirus concerns. Many thought the cooler conditions would favor top seeded player Novak Djokovic, the youngest of the three men vying for one of tennis’s highest honors. Djokovic was an active player this year, despite the many postponements and bubble restrictions that caused Nadal, who didn’t want to play without a crowd, to refrain from the US Open and many other games. Nadal instead spent most of this year raising money to help those affected by COVID-19.
Djokovic beat Nadal at the 2016 French Open, and more recently at the 2019 Australian Open. But the 33-year-old Serbian player was no match for the “King of Clay” on his field advantage. Nadal insisted that he wasn’t motivated by a desire to beat Djokovic out of spite, however, saying, “As you know, I am not a big fan of revenge.”
Nadal also historically tied 39-year-old Swiss champion Roger Federer, for the greatest number of Grand Slam titles held by one person, with a total of 20.
Other strong players included Stefanos Tsitsipas, the youngest top 10 player at only 22, and Dominic Thiem, who won the US Open last month.
In women’s singles, 19-year-old Polish player Iga Swiatek beat American player Sofia Kenin, becoming the youngest French Open winner since 1992, and the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam. Her reaction to winning was touchingly flustered, and she credited her father, a former Olympic rower, with her confidence on the court. “He taught me how to be a professional.”
In women’s doubles, French player Kristina Mladenovic and her Hungarian partner Timea Babos defended their title, winning their fourth Grand Slam as a team. Mladenovic made public reference to her forced quarantine in New York after coming into contact with a player who tested positive for the Coronavirus, in what ESPN called, “a not-too-subtle dig at U.S. public health officials.”
Men’s doubles featured similar consistency, with German players Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz defending their title. Krawietz gave a shout-out to his friends and family unable to see the event in person due to travel and competition restrictions.
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