Spain’s Rafael Nadal showed the world in 2010 that he is one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
He matched legendary Rod Laver by winning the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year, a feat not achieved since 1969. And he showed the stunning versatility of his game by becoming the first man ever to win three Grand Slams in a year on three different surfaces – clay, grass and hard court.
His wonderful year included an amazing succession of achievements:
When he beat Novak Djokovic to win his first US Open, it meant he had won all four Grand Slams and, at 24 years 101 days, made him the third youngest ever to achieve the feat after Don Budge and Rod Laver.
Nadal has now won nine career Grand Slams to lie seventh in the overall standings – at the age of just 24.
Because he won the 2008 Olympic men’s singles gold medal, he has also achieved the so-called Golden Slam – all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal.
And there could be more to come. If he wins the Australian Open in January, he will complete the non-calendar year Grand Slam, holding all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.
Nadal is regarded as one of the greatest ever players on clay surfaces. He has had only one defeat at the French Open in his entire career and has won that title five times. In 2010 it was Robin Soderling whom Nadal beat 6–4, 6–2, 6–4 in the final.
At Wimbledon he beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the final, while at Flushing Meadows, he secured his third Grand Slam of the year, beating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the US Open final. Nadal won five other tournaments in 2010. The most memorable were the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, his fifth win in Rome, and the Madrid Open, where he beat arch-rival Roger Federer in the final to win a record 18th Masters title.
Nadal was also nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award in 2009 and won the Laureus World Newcomer of the Year Award in 2006.