Rafael Nadal creates history with unprecedented 11th French Open title

  • Rafael Nadal creates history with unprecedented 11th French Open title

Rafael Nadal creates history with unprecedented 11th French Open title

As he sat down in the French Open lounge on Saturday, Günter Bresnik, Dominic Thiem's coach, was asked about Thiem's upcoming French Open final against Rafael Nadal, the finest clay court tennis player of all time.

"I have to come back to speak with my team", said Nadal, who pulled out of Queen's in 2016 -because of a serious wrist injury and past year because of exhaustion.

Each time Thiem forced an opening, Nadal immediately slammed the door shut with a brutal backhand, or a ferocious forehand. Thiem looks like he belongs on the big stage - but will he take that confidence into a showdown against Nadal who has only ever lost twice on the big Philippe Chatrier Court?

Thiem lost to Nadal in the second round on his Roland Garros debut in 2014, then again in last year's semi-finals.

'Let me enjoy this title, ' he said after the 6-4 6-3 6-2 win.

In a 10-minute second game of the second set, Thiem suffered more trauma.

But in the third set, comfortably ahead by a break at 2-1, something unusual happened-Nadal's left hand cramped.

Overall, the 32-year-old has won 17 Grand Slam championships - the four most important tennis events held annually in France, United States, Britain and Australia.

Well, we never thought we'd see the day, but that rather exciting prospect came true during the Laver Cup in Prague previous year.

Is there even Wimbledon without the “RF” brand
Is there even Wimbledon without the “RF” brand

Despite the loss, the 24-year-old Austrian said it had been a "great two weeks" for him.

The result also marks the sixth consecutive Grand Slam won by either Nadal or Federer. I am happy that other people have things, and I am very satisfied, and I feel very lucky with all the things that happened it me.

After winning 26 of his 27 matches throughout the European claycourt season and 81 of his last 86 sets on clay, there is nothing to suggest Nadal's domination in Paris will end soon.

"Rafael Nadal is at 75 percent, is that enough to beat Thiem?"

Thiem found some life and threatened with a break point in the seventh game, but Nadal broke his pace with a drop shot and finished it off with a passing shot, holding for 5-2.

Grass hasn't tended to favour Nadal in recent years, and the return of a fit-again Roger Federer means he'll likely relinquish favourite status in England.

Nadal needed five match points in a tense final game, eventually completing the job when Thiem fired a backhand long.

Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win the same Grand Slam tournament 11 times, a feat that has been dubbed La Undécima, after Real Madrid's bid to win an 11th European Cup.

Unfortunately for him, Thiem began the second set the same way he ended the first.