Rafael Nadal’s many victories on clay (a record of 59 titles) earned him the nickname ‘King of Clay’, the surface on which he is considered the greatest player in the history of tennis. Nadal is a clay court specialist in the sense that he has been extremely successful on that surface.
He has won 12 times at the French Open, 11 times at Monte Carlo and Barcelona, and nine at Rome. However, Nadal has shed that label owing to his success on other surfaces, including holding simultaneous Grand Slam tournament titles on grass, hard courts, and clay on two separate occasions, winning ten Masters series titles on hard court, and winning the Olympic gold medal on hardcourt.
During a long interview with Eurosport, Toni Nadal discussed the 2010 US Open final. “We finished 2009 with big problems. In 2009 Rafael was the best on the Tour. He won at the Australian Open. Then we arrive at Roland Garros and the problems are starting.
Knee problems and some other things. At the end Rafael loses the number 1 rank. And when we start 2010, we to recover the number 1 spot. It was the only time that Rafael won 3 Grand Slams in one year. He played very well all the time.
He won Roland Garros, he won in Wimbledon against Berdych and then we’re at the US Open. For us this tournament was very important because we knew if Rafa wins the US Open, he would have won each of the 4 Grand Slams at least once, so that final was special.
We were a little tense before the match. In this moment Rafael was a very good player. He was number 1. In my mind it was not a very important match. I know that it was good for us, that he can win the 4th Grand Slam. And I want to say: Rafael has won the 4th Grand Slam.
But he’s the only clay specialist player who has done that. It’s true that for Rafael it was a little more difficult to win the 4″ – he said.