Rafael Nadal is the 14th time Roland Garros champion – 05/06/2022 – Sport

When Gustavo Kuerten took over Roland Garros in 1997 at the age of 20, defeating tournament champions such as Thomas Muster, Ievguêni Kafelnikov and Sergi Bruguera, there were those who questioned whether Santa Catarina Björn Borgen would be able to reach six championships. in the open age – or even Max Decugis’ eight in the amateur phase? It was hard.

He could have been closer to us if he hadn’t dealt with hip problems that had shortened his career. However, his third tournament places him at a very prominent place in the history of the Paris Grand Slam. This makes Rafael Nadal’s obscene 14 cups even more spectacular.

The Spaniard finished 14th of them this Sunday (5), beating Norway’s Casper Ruud 3-0 with 6/3, 6/3 and 6/0. At the age of 36, he lifted the trophy he first received at the age of 19, showing the strength he once questioned.

Upon entering the court, “Christmas! Christmas!” shouts. he certainly left the priority of the majority of the public, as well as the Spanish flags, some with “Vamos, Rafael!” with the phrase.

He won a match where he controlled from start to finish. By the middle of the third set, Casper Ruud’s body language was giving up. Perhaps due to physical problems, the Spaniard went to court to decide soon. That’s what happened.

“It’s very difficult to describe how I feel. Being here at the age of 36, competing in the most important tournament of my career once again … It means a lot to me. Thank you all and I just want to say Paris,” he said after the title.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I will continue to fight,” he added.

He had previously admitted that he was playing better on the French courts than expected.

“I was looking for a level I didn’t think I could,” Nadal said after Novak Djokovic’s win against opponent in the quarter-finals. The victory, although almost unbelievable in the French Open, was unlikely to be seen by many.

Then, the world-class leader and defending champion, 35-year-old veteran Djokovic, reached the quarterfinals without losing a set. And Nadal, with a chronic left foot problem, arrived in Paris at the end of a confusing preparation, showing signs that the competition could be his last.

“I would accept losing the final in exchange for a new foot,” he said, half jokingly, half seriously, before the title match.

The night time of the match theoretically benefited the Serb, as the humidity of the night slowed the court. The Spaniard, a clay genius, likes a slow court, but not so slow as to offer his opponents a long recovery time in the face of his blows. During the day he fought for the match and lost the battle but not the war.

In the first game, he went up and broke Djokovic’s free kick. The initial set was quickly decided. The opponent showed strength in the second, but it was Rafael who was injured, who came from a victory in five sets, who showed much more, he also excelled in the physical part and he did 3 sets 1, 6/2, 4 /. 6, 6/2 and 7/6 (7/4).

The Mallorcan side then defeated German Alexander Zverev, who was injured in the second set after his first defeat after a defeat and was frustrated in his attempt to take the lead in the standings, now Russian Daniil Medvedev, and was back in the decision. . Against 23-year-old Ruud, he once again proved, night or day, that Roland Garros belongs.

“It’s very exciting. Everyone knows how important it is for me to play here. It’s the most important tournament of my career. It’s been a wonderful crowd every night since the competition started,” said Nadal, who has not built his reign. Only in the clay of Paris.

With at least a couple of titles at the other three Grand Slam Championships – two at the Australian Open, four at the US Open and two at the traditional Wimbledon Championships – he has won 22 Grand Prix trophies. No one has won so much, behind Djokovic and Swiss Roger Federer, 20 wins each.

The number 22 seemed inaccessible to Nadal himself, who was left out of the circuit in August 2021 trying to accept the mobility of his left foot. After a period of crutches, he hired Covid-19 and, even if properly inserted, reported difficult days due to illness in December.

In January, he won the Australian Open in a rematch against 25-year-old Medvedev, taking on the isolated lead in Grand Slam victories. But Djokovic was banned from playing in Melbourne, having won the competition nine times for refusing to receive the coronavirus vaccine, the Serb said.

Then, in Paris, Rafael knocked out the favorite (according to all bookmakers) Novak. And, along the way, the trophy came to a close – adapting hyperbolic adjectives – with a score of 97.4% at Roland Garros. There were only 112 wins and three defeats (two against Djokovic in 2015 and 2021, and one historic incident against Robin Soderling in 2009).

Nadal is without a doubt one of the greatest in the history of tennis. And Roland Garros is arguably his temple.

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