Rafael Nadal wins 13th French Open with decisive victory over Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the French Open on Sunday. (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal, the king of clay, won his 13th French Open on Sunday and defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets 6: 0, 6: 2, 7: 5. With this victory, Nadal now has Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams. Triumphs achieved.
Everything about this game was a surprise. Initially, it was believed that Nadal would be vulnerable at the French Open as the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to be released for six months this year. It was also the first time that Nadal had not won a sand tournament before the French Open. Would that affect his game?
It has not. Nadal played calmly and confidently. On the other hand, Djokovic played like a shell for most of the game. There was a lack of energy and precision that kept puzzling NBC commentators. They openly wondered if Djokovic was hiding an injury because they just couldn't believe what they were seeing.
What they saw was connected with many questions. Djokovic did not win a single game in the first set, for the first time in his career he did not win a single game in the first set of a Grand Slam final. It took him over an hour to finally win a game, but it didn't give him any momentum - mainly because he was making casual mistakes at an unusual rate. It took him until game 13 of the game to win his second game, but he still took the set 6-2.
While Djokovic was fighting, Nadal was dominant. Djokovic threw everything he could at him, but Nadal had no problem keeping up.
Djokovic rebounds, but too late
In the third set Djokovic finally came to life, won the first game and took a 2-1 lead. Djokovic looked like he was getting some of his energy back, but Nadal was adamant. He came back roaring and won the next two games. Djokovic showed life again when he rounded off the third set 3: 3, and so did the audience. There had been little cheering because the match was one-sided, and when Djokovic finally started fighting back, the crowd was ready for it.
Djokovic took the lead in the third set and reduced the casual mistakes, while Nadal finally showed a small weakness. But the hole Djokovic had to climb out of was too big. He eventually made it a real competition late, but ran out of time to make a serious comeback as Nadal won the third and final set 7-5.
If one game could sum up the entire game, it is probably this one. Nadal was just dominant.
Nadal is now a perfect 13v13 player in the French Open final and has not dropped a single set for the fourth time during the entire tournament. He is now the first man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title 15 years after his first.
Federer congratulates Nadal
Federer welcomed Nadal to the 20 Grand Slam Victories Club after Nadal finished his 13th French Open final victory. The two now jointly hold the record for Grand Slam victories, and Federer paid tribute to his friend's and frequent competitor's performance.
“I always had the greatest respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion. As my biggest rival for many years, I believe we pushed each other to become better players. It is therefore a great honor for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory. It is especially amazing that he has now won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times which is one of the greatest achievements in the sport. I also congratulate his team, because nobody can do this alone. I hope 20 is just another step on the way for both of us. Well done Rafa. You deserve it."
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