Rafael Nadal lifted a record-extending 12th French Open title at Roland Garros on Sunday, which was a victory that came as a little surprise as the Spaniard is the undisputed ‘King of Clay’ and has dominated a Grand Slam tournament like no other player in history.
The World no 2. displays his class, and he was in full control against Thiem, barely giving his Austrian Counterpart any room to breathe. His intrinsic ability to read and master every point and move through the clayfield has made him an indomitable force.
A year back, Nadal thrashed Thiem winning straight sets- 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. This time around at Roland Garros, the scenario was similar although this time Thiem grabbed a set forcing Nadal to wait a little bit longer to taste victory.
On beating Thiem, Rafael has closed the gap on Roger Federer in the Men’s all-time Majors list by just two!
While the question of who will succeed the 18-times Grand Slam Champion on clay remains a deep and searching one. Nadal’s answer during his victory speech offered us better information.
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Rafael After the Game
Receiving the Coupe des Mousquetaires, Nadal said: “Dominic, sorry you are one of the best examples we have on tour, a very hard worker always with a smile on your face and a good person”.
“Thanks for being a great inspiration for me and for a lot of small kids around the world. I know how tough it is to lose finals, but that is just a game. If I want to lose to someone, it would be to you because you deserve it, well done and keep going- you will win this for sure.”
Thiem will be wiser after his two failures at Roland Garros. With a 90-2 loss record, Nadal has been nearly immovable in Paris. Thiem certainly has the game, he possesses one of the most devastating single-handed backhands and he knows how to mix it up. The 25-year-old has beaten Nadal in 3 sets before on clay, but five setters are an entirely different level.
Thiem is not merely a prince, he can call Roland Garros as his home just like Nadal has done it. But until then, Nadal is and always will be the ‘King Of Clay’.