Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Rafael Nadal speaks out after 11th French Open win


Rafael Nadal beat Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem 6-4 6-3 6-2 to claim a record-extending 11th French Open title on Sunday.

He's the only player to beat Nadal on clay in the past two years - in Rome last year and in Madrid last month.

But it ultimately proved a futile mission as, just like in all but two of Nadal's previous 87 matches here, the incredible Spaniard proved invincible, winning 6-4 6-3 6-2.

Thiem dug in - especially in the roughly 13-minute sixth game - but he crumbled attempting to stay in the set, making four unforced errors. Well done, I'm sure you will win here in the next few years'.

Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win 11 titles at three different tournaments, having also completed La Undécima at Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April this year.

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- Victory on Sunday gave Nadal his 11th crown at Roland Garros from 11 finals.

After the victory - which saw Nadal claim his 17th Grand Slam title in total, just three behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 - social media was quick to laud the 32-year-old's staggering achievement.

With a celebrity audience - including actors Hugh Grant and Tim Roth as well as French stars Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin - watching, Nadal flew out of the blocks.

The match turned at 5-4 when, on the first point, Thiem missed a simple forehand volley.

But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away. This season no other player, not even the undisputed King of Clay, can count as many match wins on the red dirt as Thiem.

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But Thiem has form against the Spaniard.

The world number one saved it and went on to secure a two sets lead when yet another backhand from the Austrian drifted wide.

The score may have looked rather routine but there was some drama in the third set when Nadal called for the trainer at 2-1, 30-0.

A glimmer of hope was when the middle finger on his left hand started to cramp in the middle of the fourth game, causing him to take a salt tablet and have the strapping on his forearm to be removed, which is there to stop the sweat pouring onto his palms. Then you lose, you lose, but I gonna play with my highest passion and love for the game and for the sport to try to have success.

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