There appears to be no stopping Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard became the first man in the history of the sport to win seven French Open titles and in the process his 11th Grand Slam. The 26-year-old now has 52 wins to one loss on the red stuff in the French captial, he dropped only 14 total sets and he's been extended to five sets just once while winning the title twice without the loss of the set. The King of clay said that he had been apprehensive ahead of the final. “This was a very complex final. I had lost three Grand Slam finals in a row to him [Novak Djokovic]. That’s why it was important for me to win, and this was why I was a bit more nervous and there were a lot of emotions.”
Nadal who is now closing in on Roger Federer’s tally of 16 Slams, said that he was honoured to be compared to the legendary Bjorn Borg. “Borg is one of the greatest of history, so for me, the comparison with the great Bjorn is fantastic.”
Nadal’s opponent in the final, World number one Novak Djokovic heaped praise on the Mallorcan. “He's definitely the best player in history on this surface, and results are showing that he's one of the best ever players that played this game. I mean, he’s only 26 years old.”
The Serbian described the final as something special: “You're living for this moment to play the final of any Grand Slam, and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I lost this time. But I believe that there are still many years to come, and hopefully I can come back stronger.
Djokovic, Federer and the King of Clay, Nadal, all head for “greener” pastures as the famous Wimbledon tournament looms large, but for Djokovic being in the final at Roland Garros was a learning experience. “I managed to get to the final for the first time, so I wouldn't change anything. I don't like going back and saying, ‘Okay, maybe this could have gone better.’ Everything in life is a lesson, and that's the way it goes. I hope I can come out stronger and better from this experience.”
The year’s third Slam gets underway on the 25th of June in SW19, let’s hope the weather's perfect for tennis.