Rafael Nadal wins remarkable 12th-career French Open

Ruben Hill
June 14, 2019

Nadal is the first player in any era to win 12 singles titles at the same Grand Slam tournament, breaking his tie with Margaret Court, the Australian who won the Australian Championships (which later became the Australian Open) 11 times between 1960 and 1973. The Spaniard was cheered mightily afterward by the ball kids crew, who were also on hand for the photo ceremony with him and his trophy.

Between 2005-2008, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer had forged a great rivalry at Roland Garros, playing in the semi-final in 2005 and three straight finals in the following years, with Nadal emerging as a victor in all of those encounters to establish his Parisian supremacy. Nadal's only losses came to Robin Soderling of Sweden in the fourth round of the 2009 tournament (6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6), to Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the 2015 tournament (7-5, 6-3, 6-1), and to Marcel Granollers of Spain, who he was forced to retire to after pulling out with a wrist injury in 2016. No other representative of his sport - female or male, in the professional Era or the beginning of the last Millennium has ever triumphed twelve Times at the same Grand Slam tournament.

But in the past two years, he seems to have found a way to play well on grass again. In the semi-final, he defeated Roger Federer in straight sets.

This was the second year in a row in which Nadal has beaten Thiem in the final. I am very, very happy.

"It's unbelievable, I'm a little bit speechless".

He said: "The first two sets were insane".

Nadal won at the All England Club in 2008 and 2010 but his record there since then has been mixed, although he did reach the semifinal a year ago. I felt competitive last couple of years, so why do I need to change that? As everybody knows, I love to play on grass.

Revealing he would be skipping all other grass court events to give himself the best possible chance of staying fit ahead of the event, which starts on July 1, he said: "I know I played a great event a year ago". I think he has the possibility to win, and I want to hope that this year it will be possible.

"Being able, at this time in my career, to get another victory is obviously a great satisfaction and a great happiness", said Nadal after the 3-hour win. Every time I was in a bad position after he served because, with someone like Dominic, it's very hard to return.

It also gave him an 82nd career title and 950th match win.

"Mentally, I was down".

"So I just try to be positive, to be intense, and to be passionate about what I am doing".

For the first time, Nadal pulled to within two grand slams of Roger Federer, the man he eased past in their headline semifinal Friday.

Next up for Nadal is his latest assault on Wimbledon, where he has twice been champion, in 2008 and 2010. Rafa said: "You can not be thinking "one more" all the time, otherwise you are never happy".

Before the French Open, he had given up lost three Matches on clay, prior to or at the tournaments in Brisbane and Indian Wells.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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