Matching Federer’s 20 Grand Slams not on Nadal’s mind

Beads of sweat run from Spain's Rafael Nadal's face as he prepares to serve against Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadi

Grant and Eberstein's outing to the home of French tennis to watch Nadal's latest clay court triumph followed the pair's recent visit to the high-speed glitz and grandeur of the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of last month.

It leaves Nadal just three adrift of the 20 grand slam titles won by Federer, who returns to action on the ATP Tour for the first time since March at the Stuttgart Open, having opted to skip the clay-court season for the second year running.

Nadal's victory on Sunday meant that all past six Grand Slam titles have been won by either Federer or himself. Nadal broke down into tears after the match, just before the playing of the Spanish national anthem. "But I know (that) maybe in one month, Federer will win again Wimbledon".

Tennis has been good for Nadal but he has been just as influential as a key driver of the sport's growth.

Nadal has won six of his nine matches against Thiem, all of them coming on that famously hard red clay.

He continued his momentum following the medical timeout, and managed to convert his fifth match point on Thiem's poor backhand in the eighth game. After Nadal held there for 5-4, Thiem basically handed over the next game and the set by making four mistakes in a row.

- Thiem breaks straight back with his second forehand victor of the game flying past a rooted Nadal.

The problem for the 24-year-old was that his serve wasn't co-operating.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday

The first set had taken 57 minutes, in stiflingly humid conditions, but there was to be no let-up for the underdog in the second.

Claimed a record-extending 11th French Open title and his 17th major with victory over Dominic Thiem. Whatever the issue was, Thiem could not earn the break back-giving up another one while serving down 4-2-and Nadal took the third set and the title. That was part of a five-game run that sent Nadal on his way.

But Nadal held with some clever drop shots and after taking the second set it merely became a race against time to finish off Thiem before the rain arrived.

"And the fact that I didn't give up after the one a year ago here [in which she lost in three sets to Jelena Ostapenko] means that I'm strong inside and I do this just because I love this sport".

A trainer was called and he briefly inspected Nadal's left wrist.

While unpopular, Nadal's comments have resulted in more of a rekindling of an old debate rather than sparking a new one. Frustrated ThiemNadal, however, turned the screw in the 10th game and Thiem seemed to grow nervous, sending a forehand long to hand his opponent the opening set.

"When someone wins 11 times here, for me it's unbelievable to think about this", said uncle Toni. For the last 14 years, he hasn't relented.

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic have won the French Open for their first Grand Slam title in women's doubles.



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