Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

This one goes to 11: Nadal beats Thiem for French Open title

This one goes to 11: Nadal beats Thiem for French Open title

Nadal's celebration was restrained-throwing his arms skywards and turning to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni who stood down a year ago after his nephew Nadal reached La Decima.

"You can't be frustrated if somebody has more money than you, if somebody has a bigger house than you, if somebody has more Grand Slams than you", said Nadal, who will be top seed at Wimbledon. "I love the tournament", Thiem told the crowd. "What is in my mind now is that I won a very important title for me", he added. But as Nadal's uncle, Toni Nadal, said shortly afterwards, "this is not normal".

"He managed to do it well".

It leaves Nadal just three adrift of the 20 grand slam titles won by Federer, who returns to action on the ATP Tour for the first time since March at the Stuttgart Open, having opted to skip the clay-court season for the second year running.

The Austrian - competing in his first grand slam final after a pair of semifinal showings in Paris - needed to win the first set to have any realistic opportunity of ending Nadal's reign.

"I never have been insane about all this kind of stuff", he told reporters, and not for the first time when asked about matching the 36-year-old.

When asked if he will defend the title next year, he said: "It was fantastic to win for the 10th time, same thing for the 11th".

Title number nine in his ninth final for Nadal and his 14th Grand Slam success on an afternoon where temperatures nudged 30 degrees.

If there were any reason for a bit of intrigue entering Sunday's match, it was this: Thiem is the only person to beat Nadal on red clay over the past two seasons, doing so at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month.

'And that doesn't mean that I will not keep fighting for give me more chances in the future, in the next tournaments, Grand Slams, Masters 1000, 500, 250s.

Others - including U.S. former tennis great Billie Jean King and ex-male professional James Blake - praised Nadal's victory, which was dominant despite an injury scare with hand cramp in the latter stages of the third set. He pounded huge serves that topped 135 miles per hour (220 kph) - about 25 miles per hour (40 kph) better than Nadal's fastest - and translated into seven aces but also had five double-faults. On Friday, Thiem's coach Gunter Bresnik called him the best competitor of all time in any sport.

Rafael Nadal has defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to win a record-extending 11th title at the French Open.

The 32-year-old is now level with Margaret Court for the record of the most titles at a single grand slam, while his total of 17 overall brings him closer to Roger Federer's 20. That's when Nadal took charge, holding for a 5-4 lead, then breaking to take the set as Thiem made four unforced errors in a row. "Now she can relax, go out there, let her game go", said her coach, Darren Cahill.

After Thiem served, the trainer reappeared and massaged Nadal's forearm and wrist. Serving at less than 50%, Nadal got plenty of looks at second serves.

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