(The winner of the Madrid Masters just gets a dish and not a giant trophy? Weird. But hey, the important thing is RAFA WINS AGAIN!!!)
Happy days are here again! This afternoon, Rafael Nadal reasserted himself as the true King of Clay with a win at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (a mouthful of a tournament name, to be sure!). The win came at the expense of Roger Federer, who got edged out 6-4, 7-6 (5), in the first meeting between the two champions since last year's Madrid final when Federer beat Nadal. Obviously, I prefer this outcome.
It's so great to have Federer and Nadal both back at the top of their games, because at No. 1 and No. 2 it's guaranteed that if they are to meet in any tournament, it will have to be the championship match. Their matches are always amazing, even if in the head-to-head match-up Nadal (to my delight) totally owns Federer. With this victory, Nadal goes up 14-7 all-time against Fed. A 2:1 all-time advantage! Rafa is also 6-2 in major finals against Federer. It would feel like a more lopsided rivalry if Federer wasn't so dominate against all other players on tour, owning a record 16 Grand Slam titles and the Career Slam along with at least a dozen other mind-boggling tennis records. A lot of the drama in major tournaments is if Rafa can get through his draw to meet Federer at the end. It's more assumed that Fed can get to any final, but it's not a done deal that he'll be raising the trophy if Nadal is standing in his way in that final match.
Rafael Nadal is 15-0 this year on clay, winning all three clay tournaments he has played as we head into the French Open. With this win comes a bit of history. I believe this is the first time ever that one player has won all of the masters series tournaments on clay in the same season - those being Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid. Also this marks the 18th (!!) Masters Series win for Nadal, who now has the most of any player in history. Andre Agassi previously held the record at 17, with Federer one behind him at 16. And Rafa's only just about to turn 24. If he stays healthy, he can add to that total for years to come.
I hope Rafa gets to rest up after this win and I wish him so much success at Roland Garros this year. I really hope he makes it to the French Open final, so I can be there watching him play for the title on June 6th! Fingers crossed. Vamos Rafa!