PARIS – King of clay Rafael Nadal hammered Stan Wawrinka, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, to earn an unprecedented 10th title at the French Open on Sunday.
The 31-year-old needed barely two hours to run his career total to 15 Grand Slam singles titles – three fewer than rival Roger Federer.
Nadal is the first man in the Open era to win a Grand Slam 10 times.
The Spaniard notched his memorable success on a second match point when three-time Grand Slam winner Wawrinka sent a backhand into the net.
The Swiss had never lost a final at a major, while Nadal has not lost in 10 Roland Garros finals.
“This win is incredible,” Nadal said. “To win a 10th time here is very special for me. I’m very emotional – and in this moment it’s even worse. I try to play my best at all events. But it a special feeling that I have in Paris, it’s impossible to describe. It is difficult to compare this tournament to any other. This is the most important event of my career.”
Nadal was never threatened by his opponent, with Wawrinka possibly feeling the effects of the four and a half hours he needed to beat Andy Murray in the semifinals 48 hours earlier.
“From the beginning from my side, I didn’t play my best tennis,” Wawinka said. “I was nervous this morning about the match, about the final, about playing against him. For sure this score wasn’t good, the match wasn’t good, but at the end of the day there’s a lot of positives to take from the last few weeks.
”At the end of the day, it was three sets – nothing to say. There are many things I can talk about in the game, about what I did, about what he was doing, that I should have done or tried differently, but in the end of the day, I think it’s quite clear the score.“
Nadal has played in 22 Grand Slam finals, standing 15-7. His 15 majors take him one past Pete Sampras on the all-time table.
Nadal owns 53 clay trophies after adding his tenth at Roland Garros to the 10 he won at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona over the last three months.
”The only thing that matters is to hold this trophy again,“ Nadal said. ”It was very special. I played well during both weeks and from the start of the season. I’m very happy for everything and I’ll try to keep going. All I can do is work hard every day. If I’m healthy enough, then I have my chances.“
Nadal reached the Paris final without losing a set for fifth time in his career.
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