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Why Wimbledon 2008 and French Open 2022 Remain Rafael Nadal’s Greatest Grand Slam Wins

Tanmay Roy

‘Blogger’ Rafael Nadal Predicted Dangerous Matchup Against Novak Djokovic Ahead Of First-Ever Clash At French Open 2006

Out of all his 22 Grand Slam wins so far, Rafael Nadal inspired his fans the most during the 2008 Wimbledon Championships and the 2022 French Open. Many factors contribute to the specialty of these wins, the main one being that Nadal was in incredible amount of pain on the same part of his body.

Rafael Nadal had lost the Wimbledon finals to Roger Federer in 2006 and 2007. So, when he got the chance again in 2008, he wasn’t going to squander it at any cost. In an old interview with Moviestar Plus+, as shared on X, Nadal mentioned how he had to take anesthesia before the match to play without any pain.

“I have never said it, but in the 2008 Wimbledon final I had to play with my foot asleep from the beginning of the match.

“I had to play with my foot asleep from the start of the game. The stops complicated everything because the anesthesia didn’t last and I needed it because I couldn’t support my foot,” Nadal was quoted as saying (as per English translation).

Rafael Nadal won the match 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7. After gaining momentum in the first two sets, Federer mounted an expected comeback of sorts in the next 2 sets. The 5th set went down to the wire and in the darkness of London, Nadal lifted the trophy in some style.

The documentary “Stokes of Genius” also showed both Nadal and Federer’s perspectives of that match. It accounts for their 13-year rivalry that often intertwines with the 2008 Wimbledon final. It remains one of the most iconic matches of all time in Grand Slam history.

Rafael Nadal’s win became even greater when it emerged that the foot injury that was bothering him, is something persistent from his childhood. It is called Mueller-Weiss syndrome.

Toni Nadal explained in a 2024 interview with Super Deportivo Radio (as reported by Tennis 365), that they all felt like Nadal’s career would end early in 2005. But given that he played along with it, and had such a glorious career, is something that makes Uncle Toni and every family member of his, extremely proud.

Another win of the highest quality for Rafael Nadal was the 2022 French Open, where he was not the favorite to win as he came into the Grand Slam with less than ideal results in the clay swing.

While he recovered from his rib injury, Nadal again injured his foot, which jeopardized his chances further. But the Spaniard showed why he is the epitome of mental strength.

How Did Rafael Nadal Feel After Winning the 2022 French Open?

Rafael Nadal beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the final to win the 2022 French Open. After his win, Nadal spoke to Eurosport expert Mats Wilander, and this is what he had to say.

“I had been off the practice courts for a month and a half with a stress fracture on my rib, and then I had [a problem with my] foot. It stayed there all the time. In Rome it was difficult, but it’s been amazing – I’ve had my doctor here with me. We played with no feeling in the foot, with a [pain-killing] injection on the nerve. The foot was asleep, and that’s why I was able to play,” Nadal was quoted as saying.

When a concerned Wilander asked how many injections did Nadal take, he simply said, “It’s better you don’t know.” This indicates that it was a lot of injections that he took.

Nadal put his “foot on sleep” for 7 matches in a row to win the tournament. He had to beat the likes of arch-rival Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals and a rampaging Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. The Spaniard was also put to test early in the tournament by Felix Augur-Aliassime, who made him work hardest in a 5-set battle. Interestingly, FAA was coached by Toni Nadal at the time.

It remains to be seen whether Rafael Nadal recreates the magic of 2022 in the 2024 French Open. But that win is something every fan of his would always replay and remember for the emotions that came along with it.

Post Edited By:Dhruv Rupani

About the author

Tanmay Roy

Tanmay Roy


Tanmay Roy is a Tennis Journalist at The SportsRush, whose lifelong passion and zeal for the sport landed him this position. A writer with over 1000 articles under him, Tanmay fell in love with tennis in 2005 when Roger Federer defeated Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final after a stunning three sets. Tanmay followed the likes of the Big Three - Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal from the mid-noughties to now. His interest was stronger than ever after the wonderful 2009 Wimbledon Final which saw Roger Federer win after a see-saw 5-set match. His favorite female tennis player is Serena Williams and Monica Seles. Tanmay's favorite match-up to date is Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick in the 2000s. If possible, the John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut first round match at the 2010 Wimbledon is the only match Tanmay would love to watch Live by going back in time. Of late, he is a huge fan of Jannik Sinner and believes the youngster has the potential to break every record.

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