The Spaniard takes on legendary status, lifting his seventh grand slam title on clay after beating Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final.
And the ball went long. Rafael Nadal had already moved forward to attack it, but there was no need. He collapsed to the ground before he reached the net, bringing his hands up to cover his tearful face as if he had never been crowned champion on the clay courts of Paris before. He had put an end to a final that lasted two days and could lift the Roland Garros title, becoming the first player in history to win seven French grand slams. Not bad considering he is still only 26 years old.
Nadal’s tennis didn’t seem to be adversely effected by the match having to be suspended due to rain. After the Spaniard took the opening two sets 4-6, 3-6 on Sunday, Djokovic reacted strongly to take the third (6-2) and win eight games in a row just before the suspension. The rain started to fall with the Serbian leading the fourth set 2-1 and showing all the signs of coming back off the ropes.
However, Monday saw Nadal revived. He came into the encounter trailing 2-1 but was able to break Djokovic’s serve to equal matters and stake his claim on the trophy. After getting to 5-6 on his serve the world no. 1 managed to take the fourth set in the tie-break but with Rafa a match point away from victory in the final set, the occasion got to the Serbian as he double faulted to hand his opponent the win.
This emotional victory caps off one of Rafael Nadal’s best tournaments out of the seven he has won. He conceded just one set over two weeks and has surpassed Björn Borg, with whom he had previously shared the already impressive tally of six titles, and all at just 26 years of age. Nobody knows what heights Nadal is capable of reaching. But he knows that Paris will always be home for him, on whose clay he hopes to shed tears of joy for many editions to come.