Magnifique! Nadal wins 9th in ParisOne man’s despair was another man’s ecstasy as the most inopportune of double faults propelled a world-beating Rafa Nadal to his ninth French Open champion on Sunday.
Waiting to launch into a second serve on match point down, a yell from the stands, followed by another, left a distracted Novak Djokovic to fire down the most costly of double faults and see his hopes of completing a career grand slam pounded into the red dust.
While Djokovic was left utterly dejected and with a strange sense of deja vu, having also surrendered the 2012 final with a double fault, he could only watch in wonder as Nadal sank to his knees in triumph following a 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 victory.
“In matches like this, every moment is crucial. Playing against Novak is always a big challenge, as I had lost against him the last four times,” Nadal told the crowd before being handed the trophy by Swedish great Bjorn Borg. “For me it’s amazing and emotional, I lost the final at Australia this year where I had a problem with my back and that was a hard moment. Today, tennis gave back to me what happened in Australia.”
Overcome with the emotion of cradling the Musketeers’ Cup for a record-extending ninth time, the world No. 1 burst into tears.
His win was also accompanied by a deluge of eye-watering statistics.
He became the first man to win five successive Roland Garros titles.
His record in French Open finals stands at 9-0.
He has won a record 35 straight matches at the clay court major.
He has won 90 of his 91 best-of-five-set matches on clay.
He owns a 66-1 win-loss record at Roland Garros.
Over the years, grand slam champions the calibre of Roger Federer, Djokovic, Andy Murray, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Martin del Potro and Carlos Moya have all tried - and failed - to conquer the clay court phenomenon at a tournament one person suggested should now be renamed “Nadal Garros.”
Djokovic, who had come off second best to Nadal in five previous Parisian tussles, did not even come close to ending that losing run on Sunday.
“It was a very emotional day and I gave everything. The trophy was a bit too far out of reach this year, but I will come back again and again until I win it,” a teary-eyed Djokovic told the crowd after being given a prolonged standing ovation by the 15,000 fans.
It seems there is nothing that Nadal cannot control at his beloved Roland Garros.
He had stated 48 hours earlier that he “cannot command the sun,” but after Sunday’s forecast of thunderstorms failed to materialize, it seems the Spaniard’s powers of persuasion also stretch to the weather gods.