Rafael Nadal is still the King of Clay…
The 28-year-old Spanish tennis star won an unprecedented ninth title at the French Open, defeating Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4, in the men’s final at Roland Garros.
Their match couldn’t compare to last year’s five-set classic in the semifinals or their six-hour duel at the Australian Open in 2012 but the final outcome has allowed Nadal to tie Pete Sampras with 14 major titles, three behind the all-time leader Roger Federer.
Djokovic’s victory over Nadal in the Rome final in May, his fourth straight overall against the left-hander, gave his fans greater hope.
“My best wasn’t (like it was) against him in Rome,” Djokovic told reporters.
Nadal stormed into this year’s finale in record time — for him — playing a near flawless three final sets against 2013 finalist David Ferrer, crushing Andy Murray in the semis and lifting his game when it mattered against Djokovic, minus a rare hiccup late in the fourth set.
“Mentally I was so strong,” said Nadal. “I really wanted to defeat him. When there were problems cropping up, I managed to find the solutions.”
With the win, Nadal is now 66-1 at the French Open, with those nine titles alongside.