Fifty-two and One…

Under some of the worst playing conditions Mother Nature could offer, Rafael Nadal made history at Roland Garros…defeating Novak Djokovic on a rain-delayed Monday final: 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. Thanks to incessant rain, heavy balls and soggy playing conditions, the match was halted Sunday evening with a surging Novak Djokovic up 2-1 in the fourth set. He had won eight straight games to take the third set, then the first two in the second before Rafa held serve and Stefan Fransson delayed the match.

Monday, the rain continued, but they played on, with partially drier conditions favoring for Rafa’s heavy top-spin and aggressive play. While it appeared a 4th set tie-break was inevitable, the rain got heavier again with Nadal leading 5-4 and Nole on serve. At 30-40, Djokovic served-up a double fault, and Rafa made history.

Nadal has now eclipsed Bjorn Borg as the most dominant athlete to ever play on the red clay in Paris, with seven French Open titles and an incredible overall career record of 52-1 at Roland Garros.

With a win for the Serb, Nole was on-pace to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, an accomplishment unachieved in men’s tennis since Rod Laver 50 years ago. By the way, this is also the first time two players have faced each other in four consecutive Grand Slam Finals. Novak took Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and repeated Down Under…but he couldn’t get it done in Casa de Rafa.

So now…we head to grass of Halle…then London, before firing up the 2012 Wimbledon Championships two weeks from today.

Three weeks after the Championships, the players will return to Wimbledon for the Olympic Games…with competition starting on July 28th and medal round matches on August 4th and 5th. (Needless to say, the Citi Open in Washington D.C. will be minus a few marquee names this year).

Also on schedule after Wimbledon, Billie Jean King’s World Team Tennis season runs during the first 3-weeks of July…and the Emirate Airline U.S. Open series will begin…

– The Bank of the West Classic at Stanford (7/9 – 7/15)
– BB&T Atlanta Open (7/14 – 7/22)
– Mercury Insurance Open at Carlsbad (7/14 – 7/22)
– Farmer’s Classic in Los Angeles (7/23 – 7/29)
– Citi Open in Washington D.C. (7/28 – 8/5)
– Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal (8/4 – 8/13)
– Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (8/11 – 8/19)
– New Haven Open at Yale (8/17 – 8/25)
– Winston-Salem Open (8/19 – 8/25)

Here’s the television commercial for the Emirates Airline U.S. Open SeriesĀ – Got a chance to do the voice-over for the series again this year…

RECAP: 2012 French Open Champions:

  • Men’s Singles: Rafael Nadal (6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 over Novak Djokovic)
  • Women’s Singles: Maria Sharapova (6-3, 6-2 over Sara Errani)
  • Men’s Doubles: Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor (6-4, 6-4 over Bob and Mike Bryan)
  • Women’s Doubles: Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci (4-6, 6-4, 6-2 over Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova)
  • Mixed Doubles: Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi (7-6[3], 6-1 over Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez