French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal Wins 11th Roland-Garros Title
World Number one, Rafael Nadal on Sunday secured his 11th Roland-Garros title in his 11th French Open final after beating Austrian Dominic Thiem in straight sets.
It was a no less brutal, brilliant and breathtaking performance than any of the other 10 but his 6-4 6-3 6-2 triumph over a plucky but outclassed and overwhelmed final debutant Dominic Thiem may have been even more startling in its manner, the emphatic way he dismantled the Austrian pretender’s blistering game and imposed his own monstrous version.
It was a complete performance and a complete demolition.
And for Thiem, seeking to be the first Austrian Grand Slam winner since Thomas Muster here 23 years ago, a completely demoralizing experience as he never attained the heights of which he’s capable.
The 24-year-old was suffocated in the king’s lair, the only time it seemed possible he might come up for air being in the third set when Nadal, 2-1 and 30-love up, suddenly called for the trainer, struggling with cramp in the fingers of his racquet hand.
Nadal reckoned it was a scary moment but it proved to be only the slimmest of hopes for Thiem and was soon extinguished mercilessly as Nadal broke him once more before serving out for the title in two hours and 42 minutes of one-sided fare. It says much about the disheartened Thiem’s spirit that he still saved four match points at 5-2 before Nadal finally put him out of his misery.
And as Nadal looked to the heavens and later shed a few tears with La Coupe des Mousquetaires grasped to his chest amid all the cheers, it almost seemed as if ‘La Undecima’ meant more to the great man than any of the previous wins.
“It was a very special moment to receive that minute or two minutes of the crowd supporting me, the feeling in that moment was difficult to describe. Very emotional for me.”
“If you tell me, seven, eight years ago, that I will be here with 32 years old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that it is something almost impossible,” Nadal said afterward. “But here we are.”
The victory earn the 32-year-old his 17th Grand Slam, three adrift of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record, but he says he is not “crazy” about catching his great rival.
“You can’t be frustrated if somebody has more money than you, if somebody has a bigger house than you, if somebody has more Grand Slams than you,” said Nadal, who will be top seed at Wimbledon.
“I’ve never been crazy about this kind of stuff. You can’t live with that feeling. You have to do your way.
“I’d love to have 20 like Roger in the future or more, but it is not something in my mind. I know I’ve had an amazing career so I want to keep fighting for these things.”
By winning his 11th title here, Nadal has become only the second player in history to win 11 singles titles at a single Grand Slam event, equalling Margaret Court’s record set at the Australian Open when she won seven straight titles between 1960 and 1966, three more between 1969 and 1971 and a final triumph in 1973.
Nadal’s 11 French Open final victories
- 2005 – beat Mariano Puerta (Argentina) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5
- 2006 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-4)
- 2007 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4
- 2008 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 6-1 6-3 6-0
- 2010 – beat Robin Soderling (Sweden) 6-4 6-2 6-4
- 2011 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-1
- 2012 – beat Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5
- 2013 – beat David Ferrer (Spain) 6-3 6-2 6-3
- 2014 – beat Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4
- 2017 – beat Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 6-2 6-3 6-1
- 2018 – beat Dominic Thiem (Austria) 6-4 6-3 6-2