Rafael Nadal has now won more Roland Garros titles, more Grand Slam titles at one tournament, than any other player in history. Nadal claimed his seventh French Open title 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 and wept in elation and disbelief as he finally conquered an unhindered Novak Djokovic.
The final restarted with Nadal ahead but with Novak making a very strong comeback and a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2 scoreline.
Nadal took his chances and came out aggressively breaking before Novak really had a chance to warm up. The Serb was trying his effective tactics against the Rafa but it was clear that the previously rattled Spaniard had settled and Novak wasn’t quite as sharp as he had been when play was halted the day before.
The tension was palpable and as the rain started to fall Nadal became more emphatic with his forehand, forcing Novak to serve at 4-5 to stay in the match.
When the rain came down more heavily Nadal begged the umpire to “please save the balls” knowing that as soon as the ball became heavy and wet his advantage was removed.
Somehow the scrappy and intense Spaniard again took the lead at 6-5 to force Novak to serve for a tiebreak. The tension in both was extreme and ultimately it was a double fault on match point that had Nadal in tears and climbing up into the stand to leap into Uncle Toni’s arms.
Rafa’s entire team exploded with joy, tears and hugs. Pau Gasol embraced his friend tightly kissing his head before Rafa dubbed it “one of the more special moments of my career.”
With his 7th Roland Garros trophy he has exceeding the number of trophies collected by Bjorn Borg in Paris and it is now fair to say that the King of Clay is truly the greatest clay court player we have ever seen.
Nadal has today also equaled Borgs 11 Grans Slam titles.
While Rafa is capable of winning more Grand Slams he’s going to have to fight Novak for them and Novak is improving at a rate that is raising the bar in men’s tennis to an almost untouchable level.