Clay King Nadal bags 20th Slam
PARIS – Spaniard Rafael Nadal inflicted one of the most humiliating defeats on great rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open final on Sunday, thrashing the world number one 6-0 6-2 7-5 to lift a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam men’s singles title.
Tennis fans would have been salivating at the prospect of another epic clash in one of the sport’s greatest rivalries but it proved to be one of the most one-sided Grand Slam finals in the Open era under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.
The roof, which made its debut at this year’s rescheduled Grand Slam, was closed just before the start of play, sending fans and pundits on social media into a frenzy on which player would benefit from the indoor conditions.
Most thought it would favour the Serbian’s game against the 34-year-old Nadal, who was bidding for a 13th title on the red claycourts at Roland Garros.
But Nadal adapted brilliantly as he has done all fortnight to the new brand of balls and the much colder and wet conditions at this year’s event which started in late September rather than its usual May-June slot due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nadal has now tied Roger Federer’s haul of 20 majors with Djokovic, the last active player to beat the Spaniard at Roland Garros, three adrift.
“To win here means everything. I don’t think today about the 20th and equal Roger on this great number, today is just a Roland Garros victory and that means everything to me,” the world number two said.
“This love story I have with this city and this court is unforgettable.”
The 39-year-old Federer, who has been recovering from knee surgery this year, congratulated his friend.
“As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players,” Federer posted on Twitter, along with a photo of him with Nadal.
“Therefore it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory.” (Reuters)