Rafael Nadal, Mallorcan tennis warrior, cemented his status as the king of clay over the past month with 21 straight victories on his favorite surface. On Sunday, he won his seventh Barcelona Open and attained one of those goofy arcane milestones that manages to tell a story of longevity and dominance; he's now the only player in the Open Era to win two different tournaments seven times.
A week ago, he won his eighth-straight Monte Carlo Masters title, and he did it in noteworthy fashion, by beating Novak Djokovic. Over the past two years, Djokovic has emerged as the best player in the world, and he's been the bane of Nadal's existence. In fact, Rafa's victory at Monte Carlo was his first over Djokovic in eight tries dating back to 2010. (Overall, Nadal owns a 17-14 advantage.)
As of now, there are three distinct phases to Nadal's career: