Rafael Nadal during Day 4 of the 2019 French Open
Clive Mason | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
Rafael Nadal pulled away to beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the French Open final on Sunday for his 14th championship at Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title overall, adding to two records he already owned.
Nadal’s victory came two days after his 36th birthday and made him the oldest title winner in the history of the clay-court tournament.
Ruud led 3-1 in the second set, a deficit that spurred Nadal to raise his level — he took the last 11 games.
Nadal played so crisply and cleanly, accumulating more than twice as many winners as Ruud, 37 to 16. Nadal also committed fewer unforced errors, making just 16 to Ruud’s 26.
When it ended with a down-the-line backhand from Nadal, he chucked his racket to the red clay he loves so much and covered his face with the taped-up fingers on both of his hands.
The Spaniard’s first triumph in Paris came in 2005 at age 19. No man or woman ever has won the singles trophy at any major event more than his 14 in Paris. And no man has won more Grand Slam titles than Nadal.
He is two ahead of rivals Roger Federer, who hasn’t played in almost a year after a series of knee operations, and Novak Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19 and lost to Nadal at Roland Garros.
Given his age, and, of more concern, the chronic pain in his left foot that has been an off-and-on problem for years, Nadal has said repeatedly in recent days that he can never be sure whether each match at Court Philippe Chatrier might be his last.
Doesn’t really seem much reason to quit now, though, considering that he navigated his way past four French Open opponents ranked in the top 10 (No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round, No. 1 Djokovic in the quarterfinals, No. 3 Alexander Zverev — who stopped because of a foot injury — in the semifinals, and then No. 8 Ruud).
Nadal improved to 14-0 in finals at…
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