The 8 Spanish men to win the French Open – as Carlos Alcaraz emulates nation’s greats

Carlos Alcaraz French Open.
Carlos Alcaraz is the eighth Spanish man to win the French Open.

Few nations have as much tennis heritage as Spain, particularly when it comes to clay courts.

The French Open has played host to some of the greatest moments in Spanish tennis history, especially with a certain ‘King of Clay’ starring in recent years.

And a new star of Spanish men’s tennis has now emerged, with Carlos Alcaraz adding a Roland Garros title to his already incredible trophy collection.

That makes him the eighth Spanish man to win the title in Paris.

Manuel Santana – 1961, 1964

A true pioneer of Spanish tennis, the late, great Santana was the first Spanish player in history to win a major with his 1961 triumph at Roland Garros.

He beat two-time defending champion Nicola Pietrangeli to claim the title, winning the first of his four Grand Slam singles titles.

Three years later, he again defeated his Italian rival for his second crown in Paris.

Andres Gimeno – 1972

One of the most historic major victories in history, Gimeno remains the oldest first-time Grand Slam winner of the Open Era thanks to his victory at Roland Garros 52 years ago.

Runner-up at the Australian Open three years previously, 34-year-old Gimeno beat home favourite Patrick Proisy in four sets to claim the French Open title in 1972.

It was the first and only Slam for the Spaniard, who sadly passed away in 2019.

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Sergi Bruguera – 1993, 1994

One of the strongest clay courters of the 1990s, Bruguera impressively won back-to-back French Open titles in 1993 and 1994.

For the first of his titles, he battled past two-time defending champion Jim Courier, beating the American in five sets.

Bruguera backed that up by beating compatriot Alberto Berasategui in the 1994 final, while the former world No 3 also reached the final in 1997.

Carlos Moya – 1998

A former world No 1, Moya won the first and only Slam of his career at Roland Garros 26 years ago.

Runner-up at the Australian Open the previous season, Moya and compatriot Alex Corretja were both battling for a first Grand Slam title in the final in Paris.

And it was Moya who dominated proceedings, winning in straight sets to claim the title.

Albert Costa – 2002

One of the most surprising champions in Roland Garros history, Costa was the 20th seed in the draw when he claimed his first and only major victory.

Having knocked out defending champion Gustavo Kuerten in the fourth round, Costa beat compatriot Corretja in the last four to progress to the final.

Up against another Spaniard in the form of Juan Carlos Ferrero, he prevailed in four sets to become one of the lowest-ranked men’s winners ever.

Juan Carlos Ferrero – 2003

Twelve months after his final defeat, Ferrero – Alcaraz’s current coach – went one better by claiming his only major title on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The third seed battled his way through to the last four, where he beat Costa in a rematch of the previous final to seal his place in the Sunday showdown.

Ferrero dispatched surprise finalist Martin Verkek with ease to claim the title, dropping just six games to lift the trophy.

Rafael Nadal – 2005-08, 2010-14, 2017-20, 2022

The man you all knew you were going to see on this list.

Nadal’s French Open record is truly extraordinary, with just four losses at the event – and a staggering 112 wins.

He won four straight titles from 2005 to 2008, five straight between 2010 and 2017, four consecutively between 2017 and 2020, and a final triumph in 2022.

Carlos Alcaraz – 2024

World No 2 Alcaraz now finds himself on this list after a stunning victory in Sunday’s final against Alexander Zverev.

Having come into the tournament with very little clay-court preparation, expectations were perhaps a little lower than usual for him.

But he proved just why he is such a generational talent, coming from two-sets-to-one down in the semi-final against Jannik Sinner before doing the same against Zverev.

It is the first title he has won at the tournament, and many could well follow.

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