Tennis

Rafael Nadal basks in glory of ninth French Open title

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Rafael Nadal was lost for words as he celebrated his record ninth French Open crown after beating Novak Djokovic.

The world No.1 prevailed 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in a gruelling match in the tense and hot final on Philippe Chartier in Paris.

Nadal is the only man to ever win at Roland Garros nine times, and this, his fifth in a row, broke another record in the French capital. His astonishing dominance is reflected by his history at the event, which has seen him lose just once (2009) in ten years.

His 'King of Clay' reputation also remains firmly intact, and this title will mean all the more to the Spaniard after coming through a tough season on his favoured surface with the trophy that matters most.

The bad form started after the 28-year-old failed in the Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka, but now Nadal believes that painful memory can be forgotten now.

"For me it's amazing and emotional," he said on-court in the aftermath of the win.

"I lost the final at Australia this year where I had a problem with my back and that was a hard moment. Today tennis has given me back what happened in Australia. Playing at Roland Garros is unforgettable, I want to thank everyone here.

"Thank you to everybody who works here to make this the best tournament in the world. I'd also like to thank the fans, it's incredible to play here and your support is unforgettable.

"Thanks to my team, without them it would be impossible to be where I am today. In the good moments and bad moments, all the work we have done is for days like today. Many thanks and I hope to see you next year."

Some of the question marks faced by Nadal are down to the form of the losing finalist, as they continued their unbelievably exciting rivalry. The world No.2 won their Rome Masters final a few weeks ago to extend a winning run in their head-to-head to four, but the fifth and most important was out of reach. 

Djokovic remains without a Roland Garros crown - and a 'Career Slam' with it - and has now been unable to get past the final hurdle against the world no.1 on two occasions, the other being in 2012. 

The duo form part of arguably tennis' greatest rivalry, with their intense matches and successes in an exciting era post-Roger Federer.

Despite his dominance on the Paris dirt, Nadal believes that the Serbian star can eventually break his duck. "It's always a pleasure to play against you Novak and congratulations for all the things you are doing, all the best to you and your team I am sure you will win here one day.

"In matches like this every moment is crucial. Playing against Novak is always a big challenge, I had lost against him the last four times," he continued.

"I feel sorry for him today, he deserves to win this tournament."

It had looked as though the world No.2 was going to end his wait for an elusive major clay crown after taking the first set. However, the conditions worked against the 27-year-old and Nadal rallied as the partisan crowd became ever-more vociferous.

In taking three sets in a row, Nadal won to clinch his 14th major title - drawing him level with Pete Sampras into second on the all-time list. Roger Federer, the 2009 winner who departed in round four this time around, tops the standings on 17. 

The Majorcan-star's path to a ninth gong saw him lose just two sets in the whole competition, one of which came in the final - the other was against compatriot David Ferrer in the quarter-finals.

Andy Murray was also served his worst-ever defeat in his Grand Slam history by Nadal in the semis. The British No.1 has already stated his desire for revenge as he looks to defend Wimbledon later this month against the man who has tasted SW19 success twice; another will see Nadal move just two titles from Federer's record. 

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Topics:
Tennis
Novak Djokovic
French Open
Rafael Nadal

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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