Thursday, 20 September, 2018

By the numbers - Rafael Nadal 86-2 at Roland Garros

By the numbers - Rafael Nadal 86-2 at Roland Garros By the numbers - Rafael Nadal 86-2 at Roland Garros
Kristopher Love | 11 June, 2018, 12:15

"If you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here at 32 years old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something nearly impossible, but here we are".

"I had a lot of months with injury problems, so coming back to win is very special", he said.

"So I am not much anxious about the future". Nadal's level immediately cooled off a little, though, and Thiem worked his way back into the set as he broke back in the following service game.

Unfortunately, about half an hour later, the answer became a clear and resounding no. Nadal theorized that the tight wrap on his forearm had cut off his circulation, and he said the unexpected sensation scared him. "I was not under control of my [middle] finger".

'So I just gonna keep fighting for things and that's it.

The final set isn't your traditional set, but rather a super tie-break which is a race to 10 points with a difference of at least two points.

"Of course, I have ambition, I have passion for what I am doing, but I never have been insane about all this kind of stuff", Nadal told a news conference. The Philippe Chatrier is his court, he decides the pace and the tempo.

Thus, the task ahead of 24-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem-competing in his first-ever Grand Slam final-seemed impossible.

The 32 year-old Spaniard earned an incredible eleventh French Open title when swatted away the challenge of Dominic Thiem 6-4 6-3 6-2 to continue his reign as the undisputed king of clay. At one point finally, Thiem tried going around the post in the penultimate game, just after a Nadal cross-court backhand return seared so close over the net cord that it made the Parisians murmur.

Understandably, Thiem looked edgy as the match begun and he managed to win only one of the first eight points as Nadal, cheered loudly when he walked on court, bristled with intent. "It was just awful misses". Throughout his 14 years competing here, Nadal has only lost two matches.

The muscular Spaniard had won all 10 of his previous Roland Garros finals and although Thiem was the only man to have beaten him on clay over the past two seasons, the Austrian never threatened the claycourt master on Sunday. He saved two of a mere three break points. I am enjoying that moment. No, no, no, I can't - I can't be always thinking of more.

"Of course I have ambition". I have passion for what I am doing.

'But I never have been insane about all this kind of stuff. His first Grand Slam doesn't come around every week so he had better make the most of it.

"You can't live with this feeling". Everyone else is just living with that, and living in it.