Nadal makes it 10 at Roland Garros
Originally published on 11/06/17 00:00
The 31-year-old, who has now moved ahead of Pete Sampras into outright second place in the Grand Slam title count after securing his 15th major success in Paris, dropped just six games as he further cemented his status as the undisputed ‘King of Clay.’
A precocious teenager from Mallorca rolled on the red dirt after defeating Mariano Puerta to win his first Roland Garros crown in 2005, and 12 years later this remarkable sporting phenomenon was back on Court Philippe Chatrier basking in the glory of ‘La Decima.’
An emotional Nadal, said: "The feeling I have here is impossible to describe. The nerves, the adrenaline I feel when I play on this court, it is impossible to compare. It is the most important event in my career, to win again here is impossible to describe.”
Wawrinka paid tribute to the 2017 champion: “There is nothing to say about today, you were too good,” admitted the Swiss. “What you are doing in tennis is unbelievable. It’s always been an honour to play against you, two Grand Slam finals now, so congratulations to you and your team for your career.”
Both players, understandably, looked nervous in the early stages but it did not take long for the Spaniard to work his magic in the opening set. The 31-year-old made a paltry number of unforced-errors and stepped on the accelerator.
With his wicked topspin forehand inflicting significant damage, the Spaniard won four games in a row to take the all-important first set and move a step closer to another slice of history.
Nadal had won all 69 matches at Roland Garros after taking the opening set, and there was little to suggest that number 70 was not just a few hours away.
Wawrinka, who had spent five hours more time on court en route to the final than his opponent, tried to use his significant firepower to blast his way through the Spaniard's defences, but it was to no avail.
The second set will be remembered for an astonishing forehand at full stretch from the Spaniard that flashed down the line at 99mph. It was vintage Nadal, and even the Swiss acknowledged his brilliance.
Wawrinka, who hit just one backhand winner in the contest, continued to scrap as he tried to stay in touch with the irrepressible clay-court warrior. The third set was a procession, though, and it was soon time for Nadal to collect the Coupe des Mousquetaires for a tenth time and end his three-year Grand Slam title drought.