Nadal beats Thiem for 11th French Open title

Switzerland's Roger Federer has made a fortune from his contracts with Nike

Switzerland's Roger Federer has made a fortune from his contracts with Nike

Over the best-of-five sets on clay, Nadal improved to 111-2 - it is a figure nearly as imposing as the nearby Eiffel Tower - his lone reverses coming against Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015 at the French Open.

Nadal won his sixth French Open title by defeating Federer once more in Paris.

World number one Nadal won his 17th major by lifting his 11th French Open title on Sunday, beating seventh seed Dominic Thiem 6-4 6-3 6-2.

Consider that the nearest anyone had ever gotten to a similar kind of dominance on the clay courts of the French capital before Nadal was Bjorn Borg with six titles and it gives you an idea of just how good he is.

Others - including United States former tennis great Billie Jean King and ex-male professional James Blake - praised Nadal's victory, which was dominant despite an injury scare with hand cramp in the latter stages of the third set.

Bizarrely, Nadal then halted playing in the fourth game complaining of pain in his left hand and stretching his middle finger. Thiem was not easily cowed down by the Nadal forehand, nor the Popeye-bicep it finished off on.

"Probably because I had the bandage here [around his wrist], creates pressure that doesn't allow the right circulation". The watch keeps going always. Even so, he remained utterly tenacious and focused during the rallies.

Thiem, meanwhile, became confused about how best to exploit the situation. He's built his body, he's building his game, he's building his mind.

Nadal called on the trainer to get his forearms massaged twice in the final set but even that problem failed to improve Thiem's chances of emulating fellow Austrian Thomas Muster's 1995 triumph.

Understandable as it was, this decision only served to make him more passive. Nadal appeared to take more tablets. "I was very scared".

Once he moved two sets ahead it merely became a race against time for Nadal to finish the match off before the rain arrived. That was part of a five-game run that sent Nadal on his way.

"But having said that Rafa is 32 now, although not that he looks weaker or older, but throughout this tournament he has not looked his very best".

"You can't always be frustrated if somebody has more money than you, a bigger house than you, if somebody has more Grand Slams than you".

Later, as the Spanish anthem played, he sobbed long and hard.

"I arrived so-so, with some doubts about this clay-court season".

Everyone else turns up at the French Open expecting him to dominate, yet Nadal is the man who actually has to deliver on those presumptuous expectations.

He again also shattered Federer's hopes of becoming only the third man in history to hold all four majors.

But against Thiem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's start. He turned philosopher when the question was raised. You can't live with that feeling. "You have to do it your way". The losses came against Thiem at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month.

He is now entered to play the Queen's Club tournament next week.

"I think today I played my best match of the tournament", Nadal said.

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