It is 15 years since Rafael Nadal lay sprawled on his beloved red clay with a look of disbelief on his face after winning his first French Open title.

The fresh-faced teenager had realised his dream just two days after turning 19, beating an unseeded Mariano Puerta 6–7 (6–8) 6–3 6–1 7–5 under grey Paris skies.

King Juan Carlos of Spain was among those fortune enough to see the Mallorca native win his first grand slam final on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Little did the beaming monarch know he had witnessed the start of a dynasty as he embraced his compatriot, wearing a green vest and long white shorts.

With long hair flowing like a rock star and the bulging biceps of a boxer, Nadal may not have resembled a future royal back in 2005, but his incredible exploits since have ensured he will forever be known as the 'King of Clay'.

Puerta told the media after that showdown a decade and a half ago: "When I went off the court, I knew I had lost against the best player in the world on clay. What could I do?"

That is a question so many have tried and failed to find an answer to.

With phenomenal athleticism, a powerful serve, blistering groundstrokes, deft lobs and drop shots, the domineering left-hander was too good for Argentine Puerta.

Nadal was not at his brilliant best, though, and there were some ominous words from his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, after his maiden grand slam triumph.

"In every facet of the game he can be better," he said. "And, boy, if he works, and masters more of his game. Then and only then we can win several of these.

"He doesn't work just to win matches, but to be the best, to be number one."

Fifteen years on, Nadal this week celebrated his 34th birthday with a record 12 French Open titles to his name and 19 majors in total, one shy of Roger Federer's haul.

Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic are the only players to have beaten the legendary Spaniard in his 95 matches at Roland Garros.

You have to go back to 2015 since his last loss in his favourite major, at the hands of Djokovic, and the world number two has lifted the La Coupe des Mousquetaires in each of the last three years.

The coronavirus pandemic prevented Nadal from adding to his tally this month, but he may get the opportunity to continue one of the most astonishing sporting runs of dominance in September.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and provided he stays fit, the irrepressible Nadal's love affair with Paris is far from over.

Rafael Nadal has celebrated plenty of times on Court Philippe Chatrier, but the jubilation he felt on June 5, 2005 is likely to live with him forever.

It was on this day 15 years ago when 'The King of Clay' won the first of his, to date, record 12 French Open titles.

Novak Djokovic and Francesca Schiavone were also crowned champions on June 5 in years gone by, while Michael Jordan produced one of the shots of his career in the 1991 NBA Finals.

Here we take a look at the most memorable sports events to have occurred on June 5.

 

1991 - Mid-Air Jordan switches hands for stunning lay-up

At this point 29 years ago Jordan was still the nearly man; a two-time MVP who had yet to win a championship ring.

The Chicago Bulls had lost Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers too, but they would level the series at home with a convincing 107-86 victory in Game 2 as Jordan scored 33 points.

But his display that night is best remembered for a single shot in the third quarter. Jordan drove towards the basket ready for a right-handed dunk, only to switch the ball into his left hand in mid-air upon seeing Sam Perkins and somehow flip a shot up off the glass and through the net to astound those in Chicago Stadium.

The Bulls would go on to win the series 4-1, beginning a dynasty that would see them dominate the NBA for most of the next decade.

 

2005 - Nadal begins French Open dominance

At this point 15 years ago Nadal was still a promising teenager hoping to win his first grand slam.

However, he was considered the favourite in the final against Mariano Puerta, having won three clay-court tournaments in the build up to the French Open and, despite dropping the first set, he would emerge victorious 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5.

Nadal has won all but three French Opens since, though on June 5, 2016, it was Djokovic lifting the trophy as he beat Andy Murray in four sets to complete a career grand slam.

 

2009 - England stunned in World Twenty20 opener

Eleven years ago England suffered one of their most humiliating losses in any format.

In the opening game of the second World Twenty20 tournament, the hosts were expected to encounter few difficulties against the Netherlands at Lord's.

With England, who failed to hit a single six, having made 162-5 first up after being restricted to 73 in the second half of their innings, it came down to the chasing side needing two off the final ball to clinch a famous victory.

And they got them in farcical fashion as Stuart Broad's overthrow allowed Edgar Schiferli to scamper through for a second, sealing an incredible four-wicket win for the Netherlands.

 

2010 - Schiavone makes grand slam history

Tennis fans had become accustomed to the sight of Nadal winning grand slams by 2010 when Schiavone became the first Italian woman to reach a major singles final.

The 17th seed was up against Australia's Sam Stosur – who had beaten Justine Henin and Serena Williams along the way – and it was Schiavone who came out on top 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Schiavone not only became the first Italian woman to win a grand slam singles title, but she was also the second-lowest ranked woman to win at Roland Garros in the Open era.

Rafael Nadal says tennis should "wait a little bit more" and only return when it is safe for competitions to resume.

The ATP and WTA Tours remain suspended until the end of July at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nadal took part in a call with reporters on Thursday at a time when ordinarily he would have been in the latter stages of the French Open – a slam he won for the 12th time a year ago – but the tournament was moved to September due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Organisers provisionally rescheduled the Roland Garros grand slam to begin just a week after the final of the US Open, which is not yet guaranteed to go ahead.

The US Tennis Association is due to make a decision later this month on whether the tournament will begin on August 31.

As things stand, Nadal says he has little desire to travel to New York to defend the trophy he won in 2019.

"If you asked me if I want to travel to New York today to play a tennis tournament, I will say no - I will not," Nadal, a 19-time grand slam winner, told reporters.

"But in a couple of months, I don't know how the situation is going to improve. I am confident that if the tournament is played, it's going to be under extremely safe circumstances. If not, in my opinion, it doesn't make sense.

"My feeling is we need to be responsible, sending strong messages, and be a positive example for the society.

"We need to understand we are suffering an unprecedented situation and my feeling is we need to come back when all the players, from all the countries of the world, are able to travel under safe circumstances. I want to see my sport being 100 per cent fair and correct.

"The key, of course, is to find a medicine that helps us to be sure we can travel and compete without being scared of having the virus and bringing back the virus home. My feeling is we need to wait a little bit more."

Nadal also said he is stepping up the intensity of his training having not properly prepared with a racket for two and a half months.

The Spanish great added: "As you can imagine, I need to take things step by step.

"I just try to avoid injuries and increase the amount of work every single week. I'm not practising every single day, I'm just practising a couple of days a week.

"I don't even feel in my mind like defending champion [at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows]. I just feel myself like coming back from zero and we start again and that's it. It is not like a normal situation that I feel myself I have to defend this, I have to defend the other thing.

"Everybody is suffering; there's a lot of people losing lives. My mind is not thinking about if I have to play the US Open or I don't have to play the US Open [or if] I have to play Roland Garros. I'm just trying to enjoy my personal life a little bit, just trying to do the right things today.

"I need a plan, but today everything is difficult to predict so I don't want to stress myself. I don't want to put any pressure on myself. When we have the clear information, I am sure that with the team we are going to be able to find a solution."

Rafael Nadal is usually on course for yet another French Open title on his birthday but the legendary Spaniard has an opportunity to let his hair down this year.

Nadal has become accustomed to celebrating becoming a year older in Paris, yet he was unable to continue his love affair with Roland Garros on his 34th birthday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While French Open organisers are hoping the tournament can start in September, 19-time grand slam champion Nadal is among the players who have doubted whether there will be any more tennis at the highest level this year.

Nadal revealed last year that he partied harder on the rare occasions he was not en route to winning his favourite major on his special day.

As the 'King of Clay' celebrates in his native Mallorca rather than the French capital, we look at some of the numbers from what has been an astonishing career to date.

 

0 - Nadal has never been taken to five sets in a French Open final.

2 - The number of defeats the left-handed great has suffered at Roland Garros compared to an astonishing 93 victories.

5 - The tally of major successes he has achieved since turning 30.

11 - He was the first player to win 11 titles at three different tournaments as a result of his domination in Paris, Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

12 - The record number of French Open titles Nadal has to his name. Also a record for any Tour-level event. 

17 - Nadal has won a set with a double bagel on as many as 17 occasions at Roland Garros. 

19 - He was only 19 when winning his maiden grand slam title on his French Open debut.

24 - It is a decade since Nadal became the youngest man in the Open Era to complete a career Grand Slam.

33 - Nadal went on to end last year at the top of the rankings aged 33, the oldest player to achieve that feat.

50 - The Spanish superstar broke John McEnroe's record by winning 50 consecutive sets on clay before Dominic Thiem ended that run at the Madrid Open two years ago.

Rafael Nadal is usually on course for yet another French Open title on his birthday but the legendary Spaniard has an opportunity to let his hair down this year.

Nadal has become accustomed to celebrating becoming a year older in Paris, yet he was unable to continue his love affair with Roland Garros on his 34th birthday due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While French Open organisers are hoping the tournament can start in September, 19-time grand slam champion Nadal is among the players who have doubted whether there will be any more tennis at the highest level this year.

Nadal revealed last year that he partied harder on the rare occasions he was not en route to winning his favourite major on his special day.

As the 'King of Clay' celebrates in his native Mallorca rather than the French capital, we look at some of the numbers from what has been an astonishing career to date.

 

0 - Nadal has never been taken to five sets in a French Open final.

2 - The number of defeats the left-handed great has suffered at Roland Garros compared to an astonishing 93 victories.

5 - The tally of major successes he has achieved since turning 30.

11 - He was the first player to win 11 titles at three different tournaments as a result of his domination in Paris, Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

12 - The record number of French Open titles Nadal has to his name. Also a record for any Tour-level event. 

17 - Nadal has won a set with a double bagel on as many as 17 occasions at Roland Garros. 

19 - He was only 19 when winning his maiden grand slam title on his French Open debut.

24 - It is a decade since Nadal became the youngest man in the Open Era to complete a career Grand Slam.

33 - Nadal went on to end last year at the top of the rankings aged 33, the oldest player to achieve that feat.

50 - The Spanish superstar broke John McEnroe's record by winning 50 consecutive sets on clay before Dominic Thiem ended that run at the Madrid Open two years ago.

Roger Federer has eclipsed Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to top the annual Forbes list of the highest paid athletes on the planet.

The Swiss maestro jumped four spots to sit top of the pile, earning $106.3million in the past year as he becomes the first tennis player to lead the way.

That eye-watering figure puts the 20-time grand slam winner ahead of football stars Ronaldo ($105m), Messi ($104m) and Neymar ($95.5m).

NBA icon LeBron James rounds out the top five, raking in $88.2m in a period when some sportspeople took wage cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Endorsements account for most of Federer's income, but he also undertook a tour of North and South America late last year to further boost his earnings.

"The coronavirus pandemic triggered salary cuts for soccer stars Messi and Ronaldo, clearing the way for a tennis player to rank as the world's highest-paid athlete for the first time," said Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor at Forbes.

"Roger Federer is the perfect pitchman for companies, resulting in an unparalleled endorsement portfolio of blue-chip brands worth $100million a year for the tennis great."

Federer's rise to the summit comes after fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka was announced as the highest paid female athlete, her $37.4m putting the Japanese 29th overall.

Fabio Fognini is using the ATP Tour's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic to undergo surgery on both ankles, the world number 11 revealed on Saturday.

The Italian won the Monte-Carlo Masters last season but has been dealing with long-standing ankle issues.

The 2020 campaign has been paused since March amid the COVID-19 crisis, but Fognini saw no improvement in his injury problems when he returned to training recently.

Fognini, who broke into the top 10 of the ATP rankings for the first time in 2019, sought medical advice and was set for arthroscopic surgery in Italy on Saturday.

"I've been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now," he wrote to fans on his Twitter page. "It's an issue I've learnt to cope with.

"Then my right ankle started playing up in the past two years as well.

"I had hoped the various issues would go away during the two-month break from the game because of the lockdown, but when I resumed training, they were still there.

"After medical examination and a long discussion with my time, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles. I believe it's the right thing to do while the tour is on this enforced break.

"I will undergo surgery in Italy today. I can't wait to be back playing again! I know you will support me. A big hug to all of you!"

The suspension of the Tour has been extended until at least August, with Wimbledon cancelled and the French Open moved to September.

Fognini reached the last 16 of the Australian Open in January but has otherwise struggled for form in 2020, falling at the first hurdle at the ASB Classic, Rotterdam Open and Dubai Tennis Championships.

French Open director Guy Forget says he is working closely with tennis authorities to ensure the tournament at Roland Garros does not clash with the US Open.

The Parisian major was initially scheduled to start on Sunday but the coronavirus pandemic resulted in it being postponed until September 20 – a week after the final of the US Open.

Criticism of the decision was rife, and the calendar for the rest of the season remains up in the air with the ATP Tour and WTA Tour suspended until August at the earliest.

Forget said he is working towards a suitable resolution and expects an announcement on the US Open's plans in June.

"The official announcement has not been made yet. [The French Open] will probably be between the end of September and the beginning of October," Forget told French radio station Europe 1.

"We've been working closely with the ATP, the WTA and the ITF to make a global announcement on what the circuit will be like until the end of the year.

"There are so many question marks. New York City is more affected by the coronavirus than France. They also have a lot of organisational problems.

"They will make an announcement mid-June to say how it's going to be like for the US Open."

According to the John Hopkins University, New York City has seen 197,266 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 28,926 dying as a result. France has had 182,018 cases and 28,218 deaths.

Professional sports have been prohibited in France until September but Forget remains optimistic about the chances of staging a successful French Open.

"The signals are going in the right direction with the reopening of businesses," he said.

"We can imagine that this will also be the case for restaurants and bars in the coming weeks.

"Now we don't know what's going to happen in a month or two. We will adapt to what the government tells us.

"You have to be ambitions and optimistic. We hope that Roland Garros will take place, and in good conditions."

World number one Novak Djokovic will return to the court next month for a new tour in the Balkans.

The spread of coronavirus - and the subsequent suspension of the ATP Tour - means Djokovic has not played since beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.

The ATP Tour will not resume until August at the earliest, but Djokovic has confirmed he will participate in a new tournament that is launching in his native Serbia.

The Adria Tour will be held in four countries - Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina - with events on June 13-14, June 20-21, June 27-28 and July 3-4.

Djokovic, who turned 33 on Friday, will play in each leg of the series and will face Bosnian Damir Dzumhur on July 5 in a final exhibition match in Sarajevo.

He wrote on Twitter: "I'm proud to officially share the news that the #AdriaTour will be held across the #Balkans 13 June - 5 July kicking off with a tournament in Belgrade. Very grateful we could make this happen to play and support humanitarian projects across the region."

Tournament organisers said the aim of the series is to raise money for "humanitarian projects across the region" as well as helping tennis players get back in shape during the ATP Tour suspension.

As well as Djokovic, Austria's world number three Dominic Thiem has also signed up, as have Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Serbia's Viktor Troicki.

Organisers said tickets will be sold to fans if "the presence of the audience is allowed".

World number one Novak Djokovic will return to the court next month for a new tour in the Balkans.

The spread of coronavirus - and the subsequent suspension of the ATP Tour - means Djokovic has not played since beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.

The ATP Tour will not resume until August at the earliest, but Djokovic has confirmed he will participate in a new tournament that is launching in his native Serbia.

The Adria Tour will be held in four countries - Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina - with events on June 13-14, June 20-21, June 27-28 and July 3-4.

Djokovic, who turned 33 on Friday, will play in each leg of the series and will face Bosnian Damir Dzumhur on July 5 in a final exhibition match in Sarajevo.

He wrote on Twitter: "I'm proud to officially share the news that the #AdriaTour will be held across the #Balkans 13 June - 5 July kicking off with a tournament in Belgrade. Very grateful we could make this happen to play and support humanitarian projects across the region."

Tournament organisers said the aim of the series is to raise money for "humanitarian projects across the region" as well as helping tennis players get back in shape during the ATP Tour suspension.

As well as Djokovic, Austria's world number three Dominic Thiem has also signed up, as have Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Serbia's Viktor Troicki.

Organisers said tickets will be sold to fans if "the presence of the audience is allowed".

Former Australian Open champion Ashley Cooper has died at the age of 83.

Cooper, an eight-time major champion across singles and doubles competition, had been battling a lengthy illness.

Compatriot Rod Laver paid tribute to Cooper on Twitter, writing: "He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand!

"So many cherished memories. Farewell my friend. My thoughts are with Ashley's wife, Helen, and his family."

Cooper played during Australia's golden era of men's tennis, winning four major singles titles including two on home soil.

He won three of the four slams in 1958, the French Open the only trophy to elude him, a year after leading Australia to Davis Cup success.

In 1958, Australia lost to the United States and Cooper attempted to withdraw from a professional contract signed with Jack Kramer as he "felt he owed" his country, according to Tennis Australia.

His 1959 wedding to Helen Wood, who was the reigning Miss Australia, attracted more than 3,000 well-wishers.

Following his retirement, Cooper worked as an administrator for Tennis Queensland and Tennis Australia and was instrumental in the construction of the Queensland Tennis Centre, built on the site of a disused power station.

Current women's world number one Ash Barty paid her own tribute, writing: "Thank you for everything that you have done for our sport. My thoughts are with your family and loved ones. Rest In Peace, Ashley."

Novak Djokovic says he might still be playing tennis at the age of 40 as he pursues historic accomplishments in the sport.

The Serbian has spoken of his "clear goals" to usurp Roger Federer as the player to win the most grand slam titles, as well as beating the Swiss star's record of spending the most weeks at world number one.

Djokovic won the Australian Open, his 17th major success, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to top sporting action all over the world, putting him three behind Federer.

With Wimbledon cancelled for 2020 and the ATP Tour suspended until at least the end of July, Djokovic's dreams are on hold for now.

But the world number one, who turns 33 next week, still feels like he has plenty of time on his hands to make history.

He is prepared to make significant changes to his schedule to match the incredible longevity shown by his 38-year-old rival Federer.

"I definitely want to go for a long time," Djokovic said in an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger.

"But I'm aware that the amount of tournaments I'm playing is going to decrease very soon.

"I will not be able to play at this intensity, with this many tournaments and this much travelling, for a long time.

"I might be playing at 40, but then there will probably be a focus on the biggest tournaments and the tournaments that mean the most to me.

"I don't believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind.

"I have clear goals, but [the records] are not the only thing that motivates me. What fuels me every day is something more related to my growth personally."

It's the way when I first wrote about him, winning the 2004 US Open boys' title, I called him Andrew.

It's the way not even his mother now calls him Andrew.

It's the way the last person to call him Andrew was likely the court attendant who summoned Murray to be knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

It's the way you can't imagine British tennis without Andy Murray.

It's the way he'd rather you call him Andy, and not Sir Andy.

It's the way his old coach, Brad Gilbert, calls him Sir Muzzard.

It's the way his two Wimbledon titles and one US Open meant the world, but triumphing in a team cause at two Olympic Games and the 2015 Davis Cup perhaps brought even greater satisfaction.

It's the way he grew up dreaming of matching Tim Henman's achievements.

It's the way Henman now dreams he'd achieved anything close to Murray's success.

It's the way Fred Perry's son's phone has gone cold.

It's the way a squiffy Sean Connery and Alex Ferguson gatecrashed Murray's US Open final news conference to share in his celebrations.

It's the way the man who conquered Flushing Meadows couldn't help but swear and squirm in embarrassment last week when he shanked a backhand into a neighbour's garden.

It's the way I watched and squirmed next to Wimbledon's practice courts in 2017, when a limping Murray battled through a tough session.

It's the way Murray's hip followed David Beckham's metatarsal in becoming a national obsession.

It's the way he won four matches at that Wimbledon and it almost finished him off.

It's the way when he withdrew from Wimbledon "with a heavy heart" in 2018, you knew that was a spectacular understatement.

It's the way sport reporters and news teams race around Wimbledon each year chasing the most tenuous of Murray leads.

It's the way he loves an ice bath, and won't be rushed to a post-match press conference.

It's the way those delays after a late-night match can make you miss the last tube train out of Southfields into central London.

It's the way he chose Amelie Mauresmo as his coach, on a hunch she was the best person for the job.

It's the way he's pals with Nick Kyrgios. It's the way Kyrgios adores Murray.

It's the way Murray shouts, screams and swears like a sailor on the plush lawns of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

It's the way he gets away with it, indulged like a naughty puppy.

It's the way even the stern Ivan Lendl could not put a lid on that famous potty mouth.

It's the way Murray turned 33 today - May 15, 2020 - and might never play again.

It's the way he's determined to play again, even as his body gives off warning sign after warning sign.

It's the way he was training with brother Jamie and coach Jamie Delgado but following social distancing guidelines on his birthday.

It's the way he's spent better birthdays - like the time he beat Novak Djokovic on clay in the Rome Masters Series final on May 15, four years ago.

It's the way Murray was once part of the 'Big Four' that has been trimmed to a 'Big Three'.

It's the way his three grand slams look paltry against Djokovic's 17, Rafael Nadal's 19 and Roger Federer's 20.

It's the way Djokovic, Nadal and Federer each know he had their number at one stage.

It's the way "anyone but England" was a brilliant, yet hopelessly misunderstood "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" moment. And it's the way humourless knuckleheads incredibly still hold it against him.

It's all this and more, Andy Murray.

It's the way the story isn't over yet, if he has his way.

There will be no ATP Tour action until at least August amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the WTA Tour season is also on hold for an extended period.

The men's and women's tours had previously been halted until July 13 due to the global crisis.

Wimbledon has been cancelled, while the French Open was moved to September, with the US Open still scheduled to go ahead in August.

The ATP confirmed a further raft of postponements on Friday, with events in Hamburg, Bastad, Newport, Los Cabos, Gstaad, Umag, Atlanta and Kitzbuhel no longer able to go ahead as scheduled.

"Tournaments taking place from August 1, 2020 onwards are still planning to proceed as per the published schedule," a statement read. "A further update on the ATP Tour calendar is expected in mid-June."

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi added: "Just like tennis fans, players and tournament hosts all over the world, we share in the disappointment the Tour continues to be affected in this way.

"We continue to assess all of our options in an effort to resume the Tour as soon as it is safe to do so, including the feasibility of rescheduling events later in the season."

The WTA has not yet ruled out all July tennis, but Bastad, Lausanne, Bucharest and Jurmala tournaments are off.

"A decision regarding the dates on which Karlsruhe [slated for July 28 to August 2] and Palermo [July 20 to July 26] may be played, along with further updates to the WTA calendar, will be made in June," a statement read.

Elite tennis has been delayed since early March, although a number of other sports similarly affected are now aiming to return.

The UFC returned behind closed doors last weekend, while Germany's Bundesliga will resume this week ahead of further potential restarts across European football.

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