Rafa Nadal has created tennis history. No man in tennis has ever won ten titles at a single major. He has achieved la decima with the most stunning display of clay court tennis that left Stan Wawrinka almost bewildered. The championship match was all over in two hours five minutes 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
“This title means a lot by itself, no?” Nadal said. “Happened ten times here already. Have been magical all the things that happened in this tournament for me. So very happy for everything. Today was a very important day for me. Have been some tough moments last times, injuries, so it’s great to have big success like this again. But that’s it, no? Happy because I have been working a lot to be where I am today.”
The first four games of the final were close and Wawrinka was very much in touch but then suddenly Nadal began to unleash his weapons on the clay. He reeled off seven consecutive games from 2-2. It was mind boggling to watch him hit the winners he produced and the way he was moving around the court was fantastic.
There was a smile on his face when he was asked when he thought the match was his: “With the 4-1 in the third, you know you are very close, no? Especially when I made that game 5-1, I say, Okay, probably I gonna win, no? But before that, you know, I have been very focused all the time without thinking about title or the trophy, you know.
“I just think about the next point, you know. Been couple of times that I was close, like Australia 2012. Like this year in Australia that I finally lost. I know Wawrinka is a very dangerous opponent, so my mentality was there all the time thinking that I cannot give him the chance to be back on the match, because then he starts to hit so strong from the baseline, and he’s able to produce amazing shots.”
Wawrinka had enjoyed quite a run to the final. He did not drop a set to the semis then won a tremendous five setter against Andy Murray. He has played exceptional tennis in that match but none of that could be reproduced against a player who was so amazing the way Nadal was – it seemed as though he had the ball on a string.
“For sure it’s amazing tournament, for sure. Today and right now, I’m not happy. I’m quite sad to have lost the final. Doesn’t matter who you play, what the score is. You play final of Grand Slam, you don’t want to lose,” Wawrinka said. “Trust me, I felt better last three times when I was winning and I win trophy of the winner. There is many, many, many good things. Two weeks or three weeks ago I was really down, not winning matches in Masters 1000, not playing my best tennis, a lot in doubt in my game when I was playing.
“In three weeks I won Geneva and made final of a Grand Slam, so that’s big for me. That’s for sure. But I will need few days to really see that, because it’s tough to describe the feeling of losing a Grand Slam final.”
Nadal lost just 35 games the whole tournament the second fewest, after Bjorn Borg, in the Open-era of majors and fort eh third time he won the French Open without dropping a set. But it’s the fact that he won his tenth that will be remembered, yet he is trying to play it down.
For me, every Roland Garros have been very important for itself, no? You have some ones that are more special than others, obviously, but everyone have been unique. Yeah, I enjoyed every one, no? Is true that this one is gonna be one of the more special for the number, for what happened on the ceremony after the final, for so many things, no? And because I am 31 already and not a kid anymore (smiling). Because of the level of tennis and accepting that I have been in the problems, physical problems for the last period of time, that’s an important one.
“For me, every Roland Garros have been very important for itself,” he said. “You have some ones that are more special than others, obviously, but everyone have been unique. Yeah, I enjoyed every one, no? Is true that this one is gonna be one of the more special for the number, for what happened on the ceremony after the final, for so many things, no?”
The victory takes him back up to the No.2 ranking a place he has not resided since October, 2014. No.1 might not be that far off.
“I am playing well. I am in a good position,” Nadal said. “I just won the most important event of the year for me, so that’s the only thing that matters today, no? Winning these kind of titles, then you have chances to become any number on the ranking. I don’t know. I am playing well. If I am able to keep playing well, why not?”
The doubles title went to Michael Venus and Ryan Harrison over Santiago and Donald Young.