PARIS —In Roland Garros exile for three years, Rafael Nadal reclaimed his French Open throne with a history-making 10th title, destroying Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1.
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Posting his 15th major victory, and moving into outright second place behind Roger Federer (18) for the most major titles, the Spanish bull completed a phenomenal tournament with a devastating final display.
“The feeling that I have here is impossible to describe and is difficult to compare to other places,” Nadal said, struggling to contain his emotions.
The victory capped what could rightly be seen as Nadal’s most dominant performance at Roland Garros. He lost only 35 games in his seven matches and did not drop a set. The victory also ended a three-year drought of major titles for Nadal, who won his ninth French Open title in 2014.
“I try my best in all events, that’s the real thing,” Nadal said in remarks during the trophy ceremony. “But the feeling I have here is impossible to describe and difficult to compare to another place. For me the nerves, the adrenaline that I feel when I play in this court is impossible to compare to another feeling. Just for me, it’s the most important event in my career, without a doubt.”
Wawrinka, a powerful 32-year-old from Switzerland, had never lost in his three previous Grand Slam singles finals. He beat Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open and Novak Djokovic in the 2015 French Open and in the 2016 United States Open. But defeating a healthy, confident Nadal on the terre battue of Paris is still one of sport’s greatest challenges.
Nadal, a Spaniard born, raised and still residing on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, is 31 now. A lesser competitor might have lost his edge long ago, but Nadal is still sliding after drop shots and throwing his body into heavy topspin forehands with the gusto of a younger champion.