Rafael Nadal: 'Roland Garros title means a lot'

by   |  VIEW 4866

Rafael Nadal: 'Roland Garros title means a lot'

This year's Roland Garros was the most challenging one for Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard raised above all the obstacles to deliver his 14th crown at the beloved Major and extend his incredible legacy in Paris. At 36, Nadal became the oldest Roland Garros winner, almost two decades after conquering the first title as a teenager!

Heading to Paris with a troubled foot and no form, Rafa showed his Roland Garros magic again and improved his incredible numbers that no one will match in the future. Nadal is now a proud owner of 22 Major titles, moving two clear of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and continuing where he left at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Rafa brought his doctor with him to Paris and received injections ahead of every match to annul the pain in his foot and endure the best-of-five encounters in his kingdom. He did that in style, as many times before, overcoming the most challenging obstacles to regain the trophy lost to Novak Djokovic a year ago.

Rafael Nadal celebrated the 14th Roland Garros title in Paris.

Nadal kicked off his 18th Roland Garros campaign with solid victories over Jordan Thompson, Corentin Moutet and Botic Van De Zandschulp. He defeated them in straight sets and preserved energy for the second week.

The Spaniard faced the first serious rival in Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round. The Canadian forced Rafa's rare five-setter in Paris, and the more experienced player shifted into a higher gear to prevail and reach the quarter-final.

Things were about to get even more complex for Nadal, with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic waiting on the other side of the net. After a massive battle, Rafa performed a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 triumph in four hours and 12 minutes to find himself in the last four and dethrone the Serb.

The Spaniard was the more determined player and made a better start in three out of four sets to gain a boost. Djokovic gave his best in sets two and four and had two set points at 5-3 to force a decider. Nadal denied them and clinched the set in the tie break to emerge at the top.

Alexander Zverev pushed him even harder in the semi-final, and the second set was still on when they passed the three-hour mark! Nadal fended off four set points in the opener and came from behind in the second for 7-6, 6-6.

Zverev had to retire after injuring his right ankle, leaving the court in tears and sending Nadal into the 14th Roland Garros final. Casper Ruud tried to prevent Rafa's 14th title, but it was not to be for him in his first Major final.

Nadal earned a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory in two hours and 18 minutes, taming his strokes nicely and breaking the younger opponent eight times to control the scoreboard. "Roland Garros title means a lot to me because I beat excellent players.

It was mentally tough, too, after everything that happened to me after Indian Wells. I had a broken rib, and I barely finished the match in Rome. I managed to put all the concerns aside and focus on my tennis and opponents. That means I was mentally prepared," Rafael Nadal said.