RAFAEL Nadal won the 2020 French Open on Sunday, tying him with Roger Federer for 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most all-time on the men’s list.
And Nadal did it against one of the other greats in the game and a rival, Novak Djokovic, beating him 6-0, 6-2, 7-5. It is just the second straight-sets decision between the two in a Grand Slam final. Nadal has now won 13 times at Roland Garros. Djokovic, the No. 1-ranked player, is one of two men to beat him on the clay court.
“What you are doing in this court is unbelievable. Not just this court — throughout your entire career, you’ve been a great champion,” Djokovic told Nadal, who is 100-2 at the French Open, during the trophy presentation. “Today you showed why you are King of the Clay.”
The win gives the No. 2-ranked Nadal a 5-4 record against Djokovic in Grand Slam finals. Nadal fell to Djokovic in their last finals matchup at the 2019 Australian Open in their only other straight-sets decision. Djokovic has 17 Grand Slam singles titles.
“(To) win here means everything to me, no? It’s not the moment, honestly … (to) think today about the 20th,” Nadal said when asked about tying Federer. “Roland Garros means everything to me. I spent, here, the most important moments — or most of the most important moments — in my tennis career, no doubt about that.”
Nadal, who turned 34 in June, is the oldest French Open champion since 1972 and the more than 15 years between his first and most recent Grand Slam titles is the longest such span for a man.
“The love story that I have with this city, and with this court, is unforgettable,” Nadal said.
The French Open, which is normally played in late May and June, was postponed four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. After originally expecting to allow 11,500 fans daily, the French Tennis Federation had to twice cut the number of fans permitted at Roland Garos — to 1,000. On Sunday, fans mainly were concentrated in not-very-socially-distanced dense clumps in the first 20 or so rows.
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