The 2013 edition of Roland Garros was a Grand Slam for the ages – literally.
A tournament that featured a history-making eighth title by Rafael Nadal and multiple thrilling five-setters, the fortnight in Paris will be perhaps most remembered for its heroic performances from its elder statesmen.
With Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Tommy Haas and Tommy Robredo still alive during the second week of action, it marked the first time that half of the quarter-final field at a Grand Slam was aged 30 or older in more than 30 years. At 31, Robredo advanced to his fifth quarter-final at Roland Garros in record-breaking fashion, mounting a record three consecutive comeback victories from two sets down. The Spaniard became the first man to achieve the feat since Henri Cochet at Wimbledon in 1927.
The saga began with a 6-7(2), 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 turnaround against Igor Sijsling in the second round and continued to build as Robredo stormed back to defeat home favourite and wild card Gael Monfils 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-2 in the third round. With a seemingly depleted tank, he stunningly mustered a third reversal of fortunes against No. 11 seed Nicolas Almagro, prevailing 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the Round of 16. In total, Robredo spent over 10 and a half hours on court between the three comebacks, was a combined 20 of 44 on break point chances and struck 171 winners.
“I think that being in the quarter-finals again, it’s amazing, and also with three comebacks the way I did,” said Robredo. “I just need to enjoy it because I think that in tennis, we need to enjoy it when we do great things and keep focused.”
The 5’11” ATP World Tour veteran entered Roland Garros following a torrid run through the clay season, which included his first title in over two years, in Casablanca, and consecutive quarter-finals runs in Barcelona and Oeiras. Just a year prior, Robredo was ranked No. 470 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and battling at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Italy following a 14-month stint on the sidelines with a significant leg injury.
The current World No. 18’s longevity is a testament to his work ethic and belief in his game. “I was just focused to try to come back and I did it, and now I’m focused on trying to win every match and enjoying every day.”