Nadal hopes knees hold out for a Wimbledon run
- Author: Rosalie Stanley Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 14:42
Nadal, who became the first player in the Open Era to win the same grand slam on 10 separate occasions with victory at the French Open on Sunday, is a two-time victor at the All England Club but has not progressed beyond the fourth round since 2011.
After winning his 10th titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona - a feat no other man has achieved in a single event in the open era - he completed "La Decima" at Roland Garros with an imperious 6-2 6-3 6-1 victory over Wawrinka.
Nadal has struggled for form and fitness since his last Grand Slam title at the French Open three years ago, but has enjoyed a resurgence this year.
A lengthy injury list - including trouble with his knees, wrist, and back - saw Nadal slip to ninth in the world rankings at the end of a year ago.
Nadal now has 15 major crowns to his name and is just three short of Roger Federer's Open Era record of 18.
While Nadal lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires, a huge banner was unveiled in the stands saying, "Bravo Rafa", highlighting his legacy in this tournament.
By winning the women's championship at the French Open on Saturday for the first tour-level title of her career, Jelena Ostapenko jumped from 47th to a career-high 12th in the WTA rankings.
"Last year", Nadal said, "was not an easy one".
But the barrel-chested "Stanimal" was powerless as Nadal turned the final into an exhibition of his claycourt supremacy - taking his French Open record to an eye-watering 79-2.
Heading into Roland Garros, he'd lost just one match on clay in 2017. Nadal leads Bjorn Borg, who comes in second with a 96.07% win rate at Roland-Garros. The sun was shining, there was barely a trace of cloud in the bright blue sky and the temperature was about 85 degrees (30 Celsius).
Simon Pagenaud was third, ahead of defending race champion Graham Rahal, who was coming of winning both races at Detroit last week to become the first IndyCar driver this season with multiple victories. And it is also surely time for a new favorite number for Nadal.
After netting a forehand in the second set, Wawrinka pounded his racket on his head several times. On this day, he was terrific. Warwinka took his service game to reduce the tally. Once passable, it is now potent.
The pair traded breaks in the first two games of the match, but with Thiem stacking up the unforced errors he kept falling behind. That would be Wawrinka's lone break chance. Nadal scored 27 winners as compared to Wawrinka's 19. Even when he was stretched the response was emphatic, one astonishing forehand, whipped from close to the front row of seats to land in the corner, drawing gasps from the crowd and applause from Wawrinka.
"Nothing to say about today", Wawrinka told Nadal during the trophy ceremony.
"So if you have no doubts probably is because you are too arrogant".
Indeed. Good as ever.