Nadal seals magnificent seventh title
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had something more than the French Open trophy or the EUR1.25mil (RM5mil) prize money on the line.
The Serb was hoping to become the third man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams consecutively, while the Spaniard was bidding to become the record holder for Roland Garros titles. So when rain halted Sunday’s men’s finals with Rafa leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, the suspense grew more intense as both players came back on Monday to finish the match.
As they took centre court again, it took the world No. 2 only 50-minutes and nine games to take out the No. 1 player, passing Bjorn Borg to claim his seventh French Open title. "I don't know if I am the best or not," said Nadal, who won his 11th Grand Slam title overall. "I am not the right one to say that."
Djokovic was more certain when he told reporters: "He's definitely (the) best player in history on this surface, and results are showing that he's one of the best‑ever players that played this game.”
Rafa had a lot riding on this final match against Djokovic. "I had lost three grand slam finals in a row to him. If I had lost a fourth final, this would have been very difficult for me," he said. "I was very nervous all night. So in my mind, this was the final I had to win."
The showdown ended in 3 hours 50 mins over two days, in a sudden burst of sunshine with a triumphant Rafa curled into a foetal position on the ground. But that's not the longest match in the history of the sport. In 2010, American John Isner played against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut for 11 hours 5 minutes over three days at Wimbledon. Isner finally won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.
Djokovic and Rafa's next grand slam tournament will be at Wimbledon on June 25. At last year's major there, Djokovic beat Rafa 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 to claim the men's singles title.
Published June 12, 2012