Monday, 21 August, 2017

Wimbledon will be complicated, says clay king Rafa

Nothing goes right for Wawrinka in French Open loss to Nadal Check Out These Limited-Edition Shoes Nike Made to Celebrate Rafael Nadal's 10th French Open Win
Isaac Mcdaniel | 12 June, 2017, 18:55

Spain's Rafael entered the history books on Sunday by winning his tenth Roland Garros title, defeating Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

This title, a record 10th at a single grand slam in the professional era, was arguably the most impressive of his 15 majors, though, as it arrived three injury-plagued years after the last one when he beat Novak Djokovic here in 2014.

Indeed it is a feat that may never be duplicated.

"It's truly incredible", Nadal told the crowd.

"It's something very, very special and unique". If I have pain in the knees then I know from experience that it's nearly impossible. Hard to compare to other places. For me, the nerves, the adrenaline that I feel when I play in this court is impossible to compare to another feeling. In his 39 matches, the Spaniard lost only 10 sets.

But this will be his last season on tour, with the 56-year-old stepping aside at the end of the year to focus on the family's tennis academy in Majorca.

Be it his knees, wrist or appendicitis, Nadal has always managed to recover and rediscover some of his finest tennis, despite admitting to having doubts. "I am happy. I am enjoying every week, and I want to continue and I gonna try to keep working hard to try to enjoy more handsome weeks".

But in an astonishing resurgence the Mallorcan reached this year's Australian Open final, losing a classic to old sparring partner Roger Federer, and has steamrollered through the European claycourt season, winning a 10th title in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and a fifth in Madrid.

- The most influential shot on the court was Nadal's forehand. But this time, he was right even more so than on other occasions.

"And because I am 31 already and not a kid anymore".

"I didn't really think I'd have such a long career and win so many tournaments".

"In 2005, I thought in 2017 I'd be fishing on my boat in Mallorca", he said.

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He skipped the tournament past year, when he was dealing with the injured left wrist that forced him to withdraw from the 2016 French Open after two matches.

Overwhelmingly good from start to finish in Sunday's final, and for the entire two weeks, Nadal won his record 10th French Open title with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory over 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.

After a six-month layoff following Wimbledon past year, the Swiss returned to win the Australian Open and then crushed Nadal twice en route to the Masters 1000 titles at Indian Wells and Miami.

His game has also become more attacking over time.

Certainly Nadal's form suggests he has plenty of good tennis left in him but he'll want those injuries to stay away. It did not stop him from going all the way at Roland Garros, though.

Meanwhile, French Open champion of previous year Novak Djokovic slid from No. 2 to No. 4 ranking after getting knocked out in quarterfinals.

Finally healthy for a good period of time, Nadal has shown that he remains the undisputed king of clay. "That's for sure", said Wawrinka, who had won 11 matches in a row on clay.

He played 4 1/2 hours against world No. 1 Andy Murray in Friday's semifinals but said his fitness wasn't the issue.

Speaking when it was over, Rafa said that it was his dream come through and that he couldn't believe it.

"For me, every Roland Garros has been very important". And if you miss a ball, if you hit a ball short, they will attack you. You need to play at a lower level.

There were emotional scenes on Philippe Chatrier Court as Nadal's coach and uncle, Toni, was asked to take part in the trophy ceremony. "The fact is that the two first matches could be very unsafe".

He clearly stepped up his game in the second game of the second, adopting a more aggressive stance on the baseline and dictating proceedings.

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