The French Open, often known as Roland-Garros, is an annual tennis tournament held at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. The French Open is the second Grand Slam of the year. It is the only Grand Slam played on clay court, making it one of the most anticipated tennis events of the year. It is thought to be one of the most arduous grand slams to win, as the best-of-five-sets format on clay makes the battle extremely exhausting, and only the fittest can win. However, during its 131 years of reigning, the French Open has been a witness of several unexpected moments. From one man unbelievably acquiring 13 French Open titles to the rise of numerous unexpected champions, the event has seen it all. Let us have a trip to memory lane and look at the male French Open winners from the Last 10 years.
|2014||Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic||(3–6, 7–5, 6–2, 6–4)||Rafael Nadal|
|2015||Stan Wawrinka vs Novak Djokovic||(4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4)||Stan Wawrinka|
|2016||Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray||(3–6, 6–1, 6–2, 6–4)||Novak Djokovic|
|2017||Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka||(6–2, 6–3, 6–1)||Rafael Nadal|
|2018||Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem||(6–4, 6–3, 6–2)||Rafael Nadal|
|2019||Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem||(6–3, 5–7, 6–1, 6–1)||Rafael Nadal|
|2020||Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic||(6–0, 6–2, 7–5)||Rafael Nadal|
|2021||Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas||(6–7(6–8), 2–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–4)||Novak Djokovic|
|2022||Rafael Nadal vs Casper Ruud||(6–3, 6–3, 6–0)||Rafael Nadal|
|2023||Novak Djokovic vs Casper Ruud||(7–6, 6–3, 7–5)||Novak Djokovic|
On Court Philippe Chatrier, history weighed firmly on both rackets, as Rafael Nadal was left to soak in the ovation, delighted and happy to win his ninth French Open title, his fifth in a row, for the 23rd time in 42 encounters against Novak Djokovic. Nevertheless, history repeated itself as Four-times defending champion Rafael Nadal convincingly retained his title, defeating the Serbian in the final (3–6, 7–5, 6–2, 6–4). As a result, he lived up to his moniker of 'King of clay.'
Tennis fanatics were taken aback when Rafael Nadal, then five-time defending champion, got knocked out of the tournament after losing to Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final. His absence prompted a slew of questions, one of which was, "If not Rafa, then who would have the honour of lifting the trophy?"
Nonetheless, they had no indication that Stan Wawrinka, a Swiss tennis sensation, was waiting to respond in a spectacular fashion. The 30-year-old Swiss with the soft voice and the deadliest single-handed backhand in tennis upset Novak Djokovic. Wawrinka produced an absolute masterclass, striking winner after winner against the hapless Serb. Hence, defeating Djokovic in four sets to win his second grand slam.
Rafael Nadal, then 9-time French Open champion, resigned from the event in 2016 after consecutive straight-set triumphs and great form due to a significant wrist injury. Top seed Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, had a number of his strongest rivals eliminated or debilitated at the Open. With the 'King of Clay' out of the competition, Djokovic seemed to have only Andy Murray to contend with, who was floundering against far lower-ranked opponents. Furthermore, the Serbian did not waste this rare opportunity and performed admirably to come back from a set down to eliminate Andy Murray. As a result of his victory, he won his maiden French Open title, and he became the first man since 1969 to retain all four Grand Slam titles in a row.
Nadal accomplished 'La Decima'( It means The Tenth in Spanish) with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 annihilation of Stan Wawrinka in the final, giving him a perfect ten at Roland Garros that year. Not just because of the title but the way he sailed through seven rounds, solidified his position as the best clay-courter of all time. On his approach to the triumph, the Mallorcan did not drop a single set and only lost 35 games, the fewest he has ever lost when claiming a Grand Slam title.
The Spaniard's triumph at Roland Garros in 2018 handed him 17 Grand Slam championships in his career and expanded his record for most Grand Slam titles in a single major. Furthermore, He earned this honour by thrashing Dominic Thiem in straight sets(6–4, 6–3, 6–2). Nonetheless, At that time, on the clay at Roland Garros, Nadal won 11 trophies, tying the legendary Margaret Court for the most titles at a single Grand Slam and again cementing his position as the 'King of Clay.'
Coming into the final, the Spaniard had only dropped one set and was coming off a convincing semi-final triumph against Roger Federer. His opponent, Dominic Thiem, on the other hand, was hoping to build on his win over Novak Djokovic, as well as his straight-sets victory over Nadal in the Barcelona Open semi-final, to reach his second Grand Slam final. Thiem was on the verge of achieving his dreams by claiming the second set, however, an inexorable Nadal bounced back in a poised fashion and extended his record-breaking reign at Roland-Garros by winning a 12th men's singles title with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Tennis fans were drooling at the idea of another dramatic battle in one of the sport's most historical rivalries, but it turned out to be one of the most one-sided Grand Slam finals in the Open era. Although, The odds were stacked against the Serbian in his match against the 34-year-old Nadal, who was attempting to win his 13th title on the red clay courts of Roland Garros. However, putting a stop to the speculations, the 'King of Clay' delivered one of the most humiliating defeats on great rival Novak Djokovic, demolishing the world number one 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to claim a record-tying 20th Grand Slam men's singles title.
Djokovic spun up some more magic on the court less than 48 hours after defeating 13-time champion Rafael Nadal in one of the best tennis knockdowns. However, after falling behind two sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece—a 22-year-old who was playing in his first Grand Slam final—Djokovic rebounded to win in five games, 6–7 (8), 2–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–4. Eventually, he was richly compensated for his spectacular comeback by winning the French Open 2021, his second in Paris and the 19th Grand Slam title.
The "King of Clay" Rafael Nadal lived up to his title once again, overwhelming Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to win the French Open 2022 title. It was his record-extending 14th French Open title and record-extending 22nd major title overall. It marked the first time in his career that he won the Australian Open and the French Open in the same calendar year. Nadal also became the third man to defeat four top 10 players en route to a major title since the introduction of ATP rankings in 1973.
Novak Djokovic won his men's-record 23rd Grand Slam title with a victory over Casper Ruud in French Open 2023 Final. Djokovic broke a tie with rival Rafael Nadal for the most major singles trophies in the history of men's tennis. The Serb moves into the outright lead of men's majors ahead of Rafael Nadal. He also becomes the first man to win all four majors at least three times. By winning his 23rd Slam title at the French Open beating Norwegian world No. 4 Casper Ruud 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5 in the final. In addition, Djokovic broke away from Rafael Nadal in the men's pecking order. Joining Serena Williams on the most Slam count by any player in the Open Era, he also became the first man to win all the Majors at least thrice.