World No.2 Rafael Nadal on Sunday defeated World No.4 Dominic Thiem in the men’s singles final to clinch his record-extending 12th French Open title in 15 years. The 33-YO has now won 18 Grand Slam titles, two fewer than World No.3 Roger Federer. The Spaniard won the match with a scoreline of 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
Rafael Nadal collects the trophy from Rod Laver. He’s used to all this now. It’s the 12th time he’s been up on that stage & as he listens to the Spanish national anthem blaring round Court Philippe-Chatrier, perhaps he’s contemplating just how he’s planning to chase down Roger Federer’s record of 20 grand slam titles. He’s only two behind now and will head to Wimbledon determined to make more history.
He now has 93 match wins on Paris’ famous crushed red brick against just two defeats in 14 years.
Roger Federer, who suffered his worst loss at a Slam in 11 years at the hands of the world number two in the semi-finals, said: “There is nobody who even plays remotely close to Rafa.
“I don’t even know who I need to go search for to go practice with somebody who plays like him.” However, you will never hear Nadal indulge in any similar self-praise. Just as happy fishing or playing golf in Mallorca, Nadal is ruthless on the tennis court but disarmingly humble off it.
“I have doubts every day but that’s good as it makes me work hard with more intensity,” said Nadal, whose career has been constantly under siege from knee and wrist injuries.
“Life is never clear. If you have no doubts, then you are very arrogant. I am not an arrogant person.”
It is that forthright modesty which endears Nadal to his legion of fans as is his respect for opponents.
He applauds every vanquished foe off court at every tournament.