Rafael Nadal sealed his reputation as one of the greatest players on clay as he won the French Open for a world record 12th time. Nadal, who is the only tennis player to have won a single grand slam more than 10 times, reaffirmed his greatness as he defeated Austrian Dominic Thiem in four tough sets 6-3,5-7,6-1,6-1 at Roland Garros on Sunday. Thiem had clashed with Nadal in the final of the French Open in 2018 as well but he lost in straight sets. In 2019, Thiem put up a much better fight but he was outclassed by the brilliance of Nadal. With this win, Nadal secured his 18th Grand Slam and he is only two titles behind Roger Federer's tally of 20 Grand Slams.
Nadal put on a masterclass against Roger Federer in the 2019 French Open semi-final as he thrashed the 20-time Grand Slam winner 6-3,6-4,6-2 to enter the final.
Nadal defeated world number one Novak Djokovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 for a record 34rd Masters just before the French Open at Rome, leaving his vanquished foe to label the Spaniard as "the number one favourite for Roland Garros". "I am going to be there with time enough, as always," said 32-year-old Nadal, who wants to capture the 12th trophy in Paris.
"I'm going to repeat my normal routines. For sure I can't wait to be there and have the feeling, see the stadium, watch all the new great things that Roland Garros is doing," the 17-time Grand Slam winner said of the rebuilt Philippe Chatrier Centre Court. "I saw a picture. Looks great. Still open, still not closed. Is a different stadium, but the feeling probably will not be very different.
"This year, I don't see a big difference. The wind is going to be the same as always. The court is still big." His first title this season, and particularly on his favourite clay surface, is a huge boost for the Spaniard.
Nadal pulled out of Indian Wells with a knee injury and had not gotten past the semi-finals in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. "After Indian Wells, there have been some tough moments for me in terms of recovering again," he said.
"I didn't arrive very well prepared to Monte-Carlo. There have been some low moments for me. The first round in Barcelona, that was a disaster."