Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open Title

Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open Title

We delve into the archives to explain why Nadal is one of the greatest, following his latest triumph in Paris.

Once he moved two sets ahead it merely became a race against time for Nadal to finish the match off before the rain arrived.

The Spaniard's reign on the clay of Roland Garros has been unprecedented and has been one of the surest things in tennis history. "I know he will have a lot of questions about that in the press conference because you are not meant to have treatment for cramp", she added.

Rafael Nadal's stranglehold on the French Open has endured so long and remains so strong that he has even out-lasted his favourite Court Philippe Chatrier stadium and will probably still be winning the title when it gets a roof in 2020.

For Thiem, playing in his first Slam final, it was a tremendous letdown for a player who is the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.

Outside of Paris, where he also reached the semi-finals in 2016 and 2017, Thiem has not progressed past the fourth round at any of the other three Slams.

Dominic Thiem was vying for his first Grand Slam title on Sunday.

The Spaniard edged an intense opening set, tightening his grip in the second.

Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set.

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But that's the best-of-three sets and in different, faster conditions. His game plan had been to hit high to Nadal's backhand, then open up his body and skew the next shot at an acute angle into the opposite corner of the court.

Nadal spent several months away from the tour after sustaining an injury at this year's Australian Open and could, like Federer, decide that his long-term interests are best-served by sparing his body further punishment. It was his first defeat on the Parisian clay.

He also regained the world No 1 ranking for the first time since July 2009.

Thiem makes his second double fault in the game. His 11th title French Open deepened a Parisian habit both routine by now and unimaginable by anyone.

The victory saw Federer surpass American legend Pete Sampras becoming the most successful open era male player on grass.

Ten years ago, Nadal was already the King of Clay.

As long as his fitness maintains through to July, we can expect Nadal to launch a better run into the deeper stages of Wimbledon, sure to be on guard following so many disappointing exits over the past six years.

He has now taken his total Grand Slam win to an impressive 17, edging closer to Roger Federer's 23. He still won the game anyway before summoning the doctor and trainer courtside. Federer, who skipped the clay-court season, plans to play Wimbledon next month to chase No. 21.