The 34-year-old, who outplayed top seeded Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes, reeled in a racket full of records — a century of wins at Roland Garros, 13 French Open crowns and the epic, equalling Roger Federer’s haul of 20 Grand Slam titles.
Nadal pointed at the court, the most significant rostrum of his career. He called it a love story. A man, a city, a court.
Nadal, a champion on and off the court, sent out words of encouragement to people around the world. “We are facing one of the worst moments,” he said of the pandemic, “just keep going, stay positive. Together we will get through this, we will beat the virus.”
The World No. 1, said: “Today you a showed why you are king of the clay… I was definitely overplayed by a better player.” Nadal didn’t bolt off the blocks, the legendary left-hander took ownership of the court.
He used its dimensions like only he can. He played deep and tossed high balls to the Serbian’s backhand. The Spaniard, who had just two unforced errors, delivered a bagel in a set, where the Serb won only 10 points on serve.
Djokovic got on the scoreboard after almost an hour on court, fighting off three breakpoints in the first game of the second set.
The Serb, who came into the final, heading the list for most Tour-level match-wins in 2020 at 37 victories – his only defeat coming at the US Open, when he was defaulted in his match against Pablo Carreno Busta. No player had won a match point against the World No. 1 until Sunday.
In the title round, Djokovic, whose play revolves around a cutting sharpness, appeared a tad dull and out of step. It might’ve just been Nadal in his den.
In the controlled conditions of the Philippe Chatrier court, with the roof rolled over, Nadal was an architect at work, constructing points, opening the court before shutting his opponent out.
In the third set, Nadal had to dig deep to hold serve in his first two games. Djokovic He staved off a break point in the third game to hold serve. Nadal broke at love in the fifth game, but the Serb returned with his first break of the match to level at 3-3.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) 1602434125000
Nadal, walking the tightrope, broke in the 11th game when the Serb double-faulted on breakpoint and served out the championship at love, finishing with an ace.