In this unusual, surreal 2020, Rafael Nadal has carved out a remarkable piece of history by reaching a landmark 20 in tennis terms.
More specifically, winning a 20th grand slam title to equal pal and fellow “Big Three” member Roger Federer’s men’s all-time record.
Nadal did so by beating the other team member of the elite group, Novak Djokovic, 6-0 6-2 7-5, in the French Open final under the roof of Philippe Chatrier Court amid the late afternoon autumn chill.
Nadal sunk to his knees after an ace on championship point in what was a surprisingly lopsided conclusion to the fortnight.
“I do not think today about the 20th to equal Roger on this great number,” he said as he addressed the crowd. “For me this is just a Roland Garros victory. Roland Garros means everything to me.
“I spent here the most important moments, or most of the most important moments in my tennis career, no doubt about that. Just to play here is a true inspiration and the love story I have with this city and with this court is unforgettable.”
Federer was quick to congratulate Nadal on Twitter.
“I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion,” Federer, recovering from a knee injury, wrote. “As my greatest rival over the years, I believe we have pushed each other to be better players.
“Therefore it is a true honor for me to congratulate him on his 20th grand slam victory. It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times, which is one of the greatest achievements in sport.”