Having just turned 32, Rafael Nadal is unlikely to win 20 French Opens. But how about 15?
He began that quest Sunday, winning his record-extending 11th title on the clay at Roland Garros and 17th major overall with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory over his spirited but ultimately vanquished challenger, Dominic Thiem.
“It’s definitely one of the best things somebody ever achieved in sport,” Thiem told reporters.
Nadal also became the second tennis player ever to win 11 titles at the same major, joining Margaret Court. Court won 11 on home soil at the Australian Open, the last coming near the start of the Open Era in 1973.
The French Open isn’t Nadal’s home slam but it might as well be.
“Memories are forever, and I have incredible memories of this event,” he told reporters. “I don’t want to start explaining all the memories that I have, because they are so long. But since the first time that I came here until today is a love story with this event, not only with the victories, but this is all about the people who are working the event, too.”
Considered to be declining two years ago, Nadal and friendly rival Roger Federer have now won the last six grand slams.