Rafael Nadal won his 14th French Open crown with a commanding 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Casper Ruud in Sunday’s final.
Nadal was a doubt to even play at the French Open due to a chronic left foot injury, but the ‘King of clay’ ended the fortnight in Paris with a record-extending win.
He took his career tally to 22 Grand Slam titles on Sunday, thrashing Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the final, moving him two clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time list.
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Nadal said earlier in the week he would rather have a new foot than another French Open trophy, but vowed to fight on after lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires again.
“I never believed I would be here at 36, being competitive again, playing in the most important court of my career one more time in a final,” Nadal said during the trophy presentation.
“I don’t know what can happen in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting to try to keep going.”
It is the first time Nadal has won the Australian Open and Roland Garros trophies and after improved to 112-3 at the clay-court major.
In front of a raucous crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier, the 36-year-old produced an intense and aggressive first-set performance, hitting his forehand with heavy topspin to outmanoeuvre the Norwegian and move ahead.
After making a slow start to the second set, the Spaniard rallied from 1-3 by returning to basics.
He hung in points, won the longer exchanges and produced an array of stunning passing shots off both wings to take further control.
He dropped only eight points in the third set to secure another memorable victory after two hours and 20 minutes.
“The most important thing is to congratulate Rafa. It is your 14th time here and 22nd [title] at Grand Slams,” Ruud said during the trophy ceremony.
“We all know what a champion you are and today I got to feel how it is to play against you in the final and it is not easy.
“I am not the first victim, I know there have been many before.”
The 23-year-old had never been beyond the fourth round at a major prior to his run in Paris and was the first Norwegian man to reach the championship match at a Grand Slam in the Open Era.