Following an overnight rain delay, Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic at the 2012 French Open final, marking his record-breaking seventh title win at Roland Garros. Rafa’s fans were behind him all the way, and ahead of the championship match Nike Tennis encouraged them to submit messages of support on the Nike Tennis Facebook page.

The names of those fans were written on 5,000 paintballs, which were then shot onto a blank canvas to create the “Unstoppable” image of Rafa as a celebration of his historic achievement. Check out the making of video below, created by the Kennedy’s and Wieden+Kennedy.

The good:

A sunny first week filled with big upsets and emotions

The feel good story of the tournament: Virginie Razzano

Prior to the 2011 French Open’s start, Razzano’s fiancé Stéphane Vidal died of a brain tumor. He had encouraged her to go ahead and enter the tournament, so she did, honoring his memory by stepping on court to play, but lost in the first round.
At the 2012 French Open, Razzano handed Serena Williams her first-ever first-round defeat at a major. Razzano came back from a set and 1-5 down in the second-set tie-break to emerge victorious 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. She was up 5-0 in the final set at one point and needed eight match points to close out the match. She lost to Arantxa Rus in the second round.

Maria Sharapova:
Despite her countless magazine covers, numerous contracts with Nike, Tiffany, Canon and co, Sharapova’s main goal is to win tennis trophies. She beat surprise finalist Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to win her first French Open title and become the 10th woman with a career Grand Slam.

Maria Sharapova

Novak Djokovic:
He could have been the first man since Rod Laver to hold the 4 Grand Slam trophies at the same time, but Nadal was just better than him in final.

Sam Stosur:
Another great performance in Paris for Sam… until her nervous breakdown in semifinals against Errani. She has vowed to use the pain of another French Open heartache (remember that final against Schiavone?) as the spur to one day reign supreme in Paris.

Sam Stosur

David Ferrer: a bittersweet performance for Ferru: he reached the semifinals for the first time at Roland Garros, but Nadal was merciless and dismantled him 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in 1 hour and 46 minutes.

Sara Errani: it was the Slam of a lifetime for Errani. She beat two former French open champions (Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova) and two top 10 players (Angelique Kerber and Sam Stosur) en route for her first Grand Slam final. I really doubt she will repeat her performance at another Grand Slam, but you never know with these Italian players…
She also teamed with Roberta Vinci to win the doubles title, beating Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: 4 match points against Djokovic and a ton of regrets.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Sloane Stephens:
The 19-year-old American showed great potential and advanced to the fourth round for the first time in a Grand Slam. Could she be the “Next Great Thing” in American tennis?

Sloane Stephens

Arnaud Clément:
Beaten by David Goffin in the second round, Clement, 34, played his last Roland Garros. He is one of the favorite (along Cédric Pioline) to be named France’s new Davis Cup captain.

Arnaud Clement

The bad:

A second week wasted by rain and by the questionable decisions made regarding the schedule (Tsonga-Wawinka, Nadal-Djokovic…)

Serena Williams:
Serena Williams was 46-0 in first-round matches at Grand Slams before her stunning loss to Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros.

Roger Federer:
Even though he reached the semifinals again and passed Jimmy Connors for the most Grand Slam wins in the Open Era ( 237 for Federer, 233 for Connors), Roger Federer never looked like a real contender the past two weeks.
Beaten in straights by Novak Djokovic, the Swiss hasn’t won a Grand Slam in over two years. Can he bounce back at Wimbledon?

Roger Federer

Juan-Martin Del Potro: he lead Federer by two sets to love, and then completely disappeared without a fight

Juan Martin Del Potro

Andy Murray:
Journalists keep talking and talking and a talking about the Big 4. In my opinion, they should stop, there are only three dominant players on the men’s circuit. In the way he plays, in his attitude, in his results, Andy Murray is far far away from Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.

Andy Murray

Jelena Jankovic: Ousted by Varvara Lepchenko in the second round. Who remembers she was once the world number one?

Jelena Jankovic

The king:

Rafael Nadal:
7th Roland Garros title, 11th Grand Slam title and 50th career title. He’s also the 4th player to win a Slam title for 8 years in a row, joining Bjorn Borg, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.

Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic’s road to the final

Round Opponent Score
R1 Potito Starace 7-6, 6-3, 6-1
R2 Blav Kavcic 6-0, 6-4, 6-4
R3 Nicolas Devilder 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
R4 Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3
QF Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1
SF Roger Federer 6-4, 7-5, 6-3

Rafael Nadal’s road to the final

Round Opponent Score
R1 Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
R2 Denis Isomin 6-2, 6-2, 6-0
R3 Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 6-3, 6-4
R4 Juan Monaco 6-2, 6-0, 6-0
QF Nicolas Almagro 7-6, 6-2, 6-3
SF David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1

Maria Sharapova crushed Sara Errani 6-3 6-2 and completes a career Grand Slam.
Only nine other women had won each of the Slams: Maureen Connolly, Doris Hart, Shirley June Fry Irvin, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

Congrats to Maria, who’s also back at the number 1 ranking.

Video by We are tennis