Four times Rafael Nadal DID NOT win the French Open

When it comes to the French Open, it’s a sign of Rafael Nadal’s immense dominance that it’s much rarer for the Spaniard not to win it than it is for him to land the trophy. The undisputed ‘King of Clay’ has racked up a gargantuan 13 Roland-Garros titles since he first won the tournament in 2005, meaning there have only been four occasions where someone else has triumphed.

The fact that Nadal is so tough to beat on clay makes a French Open title extra special for any other player who can wrestle it from his grasp. As tennis fans examine the Roland-Garros winner odds for 2022, let’s take a look at the four times a player other than Nadal has won the French Open since 2005.

2009: Roger Federer

Having won four consecutive French Open titles, it was widely expected that Nadal would duly make it five on the spin in 2009, but the defending champion was stunned in the fourth round, as Swedish player Robin Söderling downed him in four sets.

That sent shockwaves throughout the tennis world, as the opportunity arose for someone else to get their hands on the Paris title. Roger Federer was still seeking his maiden French Open triumph, having been denied on numerous occasions by Nadal, but now was his chance to strike.

Federer overcame Juan Martín del Potro in a thrilling semi-final to set up a crunch showpiece against the impressive Söderling. The Swiss legend wasn’t going to let this chance slip by, and he delivered a strong performance to beat the Swede in straight sets.

2015: Stan Wawrinka

After Djokovic bowed out of the French Open in the quarter-finals at the hands of Novak Djokovic, many felt it was the Serbian’s time to shine and claim his first French Open crown. Djokovic got the better of Andy Murray in a dramatic five-set semi-final, to set up a final against underdog Stan Wawrinka.

Whether tiredness played a part or not, Djokovic just didn’t produce his best, and Wawrinka played out of his skin to claim a second Grand Slam title. The Serbian took the first set 6-4, but Wawrinka upped his intensity and Djokovic just didn’t have an answer. A memorable moment for the Swiss player.

2016: Novak Djokovic

Djokovic wouldn’t have to wait long to make amends for that defeat, winning the tournament a year later after beating Murray in the final. Nadal had been forced to withdraw from the French Open after two rounds with a wrist injury, and Djokovic took full advantage to complete his career Grand Slam.

For Murray, it was a first appearance in a French Open final, but despite winning the first set he just couldn’t compete with Djokovic throughout the course of the final.

2021: Novak Djokovic

Five years later, Djokovic claimed his second French Open title, and for the first time he had won it after beating Nadal along the way. The pair met in the semi-finals, and although Nadal was a big favourite after annihilating Djokovic in the 2020 final, it was the latter who held the edge this time around, winning in four sets.

He would have to work even harder in the final, though, as Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed the first two sets, but the Greek player just couldn’t get over the line, with Djokovic finding a second wind to come back and win in five sets.

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