Roger Federer returns to action at the Stuttgart Open this week
13 June, 2018, 03:38 | Author: Elena Meyer
Rafael Nadal was at his awe-inspiring best as he crushed Austrian Dominic Thiem to snatch a record-extending 11th French Open title with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory yesterday.
The 36-year-old has not played since losing to Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Miami Open, after choosing to skip the entire clay court season for a second consecutive year.
However, he said: "I've had long and mentally tough clay-court season because I played nearly all the matches possible after coming from an injury".
Although Nadal subsequently received treatment on his forearm it seemingly had little adverse effect and, after a second break of serve, his 11th triumph was secured at the fifth time of asking when Thiem sent a return long.
But Nadal roared into the 2017 Australian Open final, losing to Federer, then captured his record 10th French Open crown in June past year, setting the stage for another title run in the Flushing Meadows fortnight at the US Open in September.
He saved three break points in his first service game but a wayward backhand ensured Nadal took the fourth.
But most of what transpired Sunday afternoon was eminently familiar: The distinctive roar of appreciation when the Spanish superstar walked into the stadium, the whirring accompaniment of photographers' motor drives as he tossed the ball skyward, the sense that when he closed out the first set, it was ballgame on center court even though it was best-of-five on paper. It was very humid and he pushed me to the limit.
Rafael Nadal's remarkable Roland Garros reign continued as the world number one clinched an 11th French Open title with a straight-sets win over Dominic Thiem on Sunday.
And only Nadal and Andre Agassi can say they have a career Grand Slam and an Olympic men's singles gold medal, Nadal having claimed his in 2008 at Beijing.
The signs were already ominous for Thiem because in 112 best-of-five-set matches, Nadal had never lost after taking the first set. So I just am just going to keep fighting for things and that's it.
The 83-year-old was presented to the crowd at the beginning of the trophy presentation, with a highlights package played on the big screen. "It was just bad misses".
"Let me enjoy this title", he said.
"Still, I'm disappointed, of course".
"You can't be frustrated always if somebody have more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more grand slams than you".
Fast-forward almost two decades and Nike have been on court with the soon-to-be 37-year-old for every one of his record 20 Grand Slam successes and back catalogue of other glories, becoming synonymous with a sporting great who boasts the same kind of commercial power as Michael Jordan and his Air Jordan shoe and David Beckham and his long-term association with adidas.
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