Rafael Nadal has taken full advantage of a golden opportunity…
The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star has added a second Olympic tennis gold medal to all of his Grand Slam trophies, teaming with childhood friend Marc Lopez to win the men’s doubles championship for Spain at the 2016 Rio Games.
Nadal and Lopez came back from a break down in the third set and claimed the last three games to beat Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the final Friday.
Nadal, a 14-time champion at major tournaments, also won an Olympic title in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games after defeating Chile’s Fernando González. This is the first medal for Lopez.
The silver for Mergea and Tecau is the first tennis medal for Romania in Olympic history.
The bronze went to Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States. They beat the Canadian team of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4 earlier Friday.
It was another busy day for Nadal, who won his singles quarterfinal in three sets earlier Friday.
Nadal does not play doubles often on tour, focusing on a singles career that has included stints at No. 1 in the rankings and a record nine French Open titles.
Of his nine previous doubles championships, four came with Lopez as his partner, although they hadn’t played even one match together this year until arriving in Brazil.
Lopez won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the French Open in June, pairing with Feliciano Lopez to beat American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in that final.