PARIS: Rafael Nadal equalled Swiss tennis star Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles by producing a nearly perfect show in the final of French Open against rival Novak Djokovic.
Nadal tied long-time rival Federer for the most major Grand Slams singles tennis championships won by a man and added to his own record at Roland Garros with 13th on the red clay, courtesy of a surprisingly dominant 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory over the top-ranked Djokovic on Sunday in the final showdown of RG.
When Nadal ended it with an ace, he dropped to his knees on the red-clay court, smiled widely and pumped his arms, his classic way of celebrating championships, never gets old.
Rafael improved to 100-2 at the French Open
Rafael Nadal, world no. 2 in the rankings, improved to 100-2 at the French Open, including a combined 26-0 in semi-finals and finals, and picked up his fourth consecutive title in Paris.
Nadal is now tied with Federer for the first time since each man had zero Slams to his name in 2003. Federer’s first arrived at Wimbledon that year; Nadal, naturally, earned his first in France in 2005, by which point he trailed 4-0.
“First of all, of course, congrats to Novak for another great tournament, sorry for today,” Nadal said on court.
“In Australia [in the final in 2019] he killed me. We’ve played so many times, one day one wins, another day the other wins.”
Ties at 20 Major Championships
Ties at 20 Grand Slam, the 34-year-old Spanish would not think of matching Federer’s mark.
“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.”
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Djokovic, before he was knocked-out after nearly a perfect performance by Nadal, had won five Grand Slam finals in a row since being beaten by Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 Australian Open.
“Today, Rafa showed why you are the king of clay,” Says Novak Djokovic
Djokovic’s loss left him at 17 majors; had he won, the trio’s standings would have read 20-19-18.
“Today, Rafa showed why you are the king of clay. I was out-played by a better player,” Novak Djokovic said.
Rafa thanks organizers for staging tournament
Rafael Nadal in his victory speech also thanked French Open organizers for staging tournament in such situations where everything is screwed-up.
“I want to send a message to everyone around the world. We are facing one of the worst moments that we remember in this world, fighting against this virus. Keep going, stay positive. We will get through this and we will beat the virus soon.”