After an emotional two-day adventure, Rafael Nadal is officially in seventh heaven…
The 26-year-old Spanish tenista won a record seventh French Open title on Monday, returning to Roland Garros a day after rain postponed play to defeat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.
The victory by “The King of Clay,” as he’s been called, helped Nadal surpass the record he shared with Bjorn Borg, who claimed six titles on the red clay at Roland Garros. Nadal ties Chris Evert on the women’s side, who was the first player to win the French Open seven times.
“This is my favorite tournament of the world,” Nadal told the French crowd during his on-court interview.
It’s Nadal’s 11th Grand Slam title, moving him into a tie for fourth all time with Rod Laver and Borg. He now trails only Roger Federer (16), Pete Sampras (14) and Roy Emerson (12).
He also ends Djokovic’s streak of three consecutive Grand Slam titles, denying the 25-year-old Serbian tennis star a chance to become the first since Laver to own all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. Djokovic had defeated Nadal in the three previous Slam finals, including a nearly six-hour match at the Australian Open in January.
Nadal runs his record at Roland Garros to 52-1.
Meanwhile, this was the first French Open to not end on Sunday since 1973, when Ilie Nastase wrapped up his title on a Tuesday.