Rafael Nadal has won a record 12th French Open title after beating Austria’s Dominic Thiem in four sets in the final tournament of the 2019 French Open.
The 33-year-old Spanish Tennis champion defeated the 25-year-old Austrian opponent, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in exactly three hours to claim his victory at the Court Philippe Chatrier this evening.
The World Number 2 now becomes the first player to win a dozen titles on the same court (Margaret Court won her 12 Australian Opens at different venues), putting him four clear of Roger Federer’s eight at Wimbledon and Novak Djokovic’s seven in Melbourne.
Speaking on his win, Rafael Nadal said: ‘Congrats to Dominic, I feel sorry because he deserves it, I really hope he wins in future. He has unbelievable intensity and passion for this sport. I want to encourage him.
‘It’s an unbelievable moment for me, I can’t explain it. For me it was a dream to play the first time in 2005.
‘I never thought back then that in 2019 I would still be here so it’s very special for me.’
It was the second year in a row that Thiem was beaten by Rafael Nadal in the final and he couldn’t help but admit the match with Novak Djokovic eventually took its toil. Thiem said;
“I mean, it was a Grand Slam final, so I didn’t feel tired in the match,”
“But on the same time, a match like yesterday, beating Novak over two days with all the interruption, it leaves traces on the body and also on the mind. That’s 100 per cent.
“The beginning was unbelievable intense of the match. And I dropped a little bit towards the end of the first set. Then I played the way I should play in the second set, very aggressive.
“But still, I mean, I didn’t make – I think I made only five points in the return games, and, I mean, four of them obviously at 6-5. After these two sets, I dropped a little bit my level. I mean, then Rafa, who won this tournament 12 times, he stepped on me.
“Afterwards, it got really tough for me.”
Speaking to the media post-match, Rafael Nadal was asked about his chances of surpassing Federer, especially given his dominance at Roland Garros. He said;
“Of course we push each other, but I lost, I think, around 15 or even more Grand Slams in my career for injuries. So have been – is difficult.
“But being honest, I never complain myself much, and I never tried to think about, Well, I gonna catch Roger or not. Being honest, I am not very worried about this stuff, no?
“You can’t be frustrated all the time because the neighbour has a bigger house than you or a bigger TV or better garden. That’s not the way that I see the life, you know.
“And I just try to do my way. I feel very lucky about all the things that are happening to me. And if, at the end of my career, I am able to win a couple of more Grand Slams and be closer to Roger, will be unbelievable. If not, for me, still unbelievable, no?
“And today, the last thing that I thought before you ask me that is about this thing. For me, Roland Garros, feel myself enjoying again on court. That’s the main thing, no?
“Then what can happen in the future, we will see. I gonna try my best to keep enjoying tennis, giving myself chances to compete at the highest level, and we will see what’s going on.
“It’s a motivation, but it’s not my obsession. If you ask me whether I would like it, of course.
“If that’s a goal in my career, no. It’s not what makes me get up every morning or go and train and play. It’s not the way in which I view the sport, and it’s not the way in which I consider my sports career.
“I want to follow my own journey, give myself the best opportunities, and give myself the possibility of competing at the highest level. And if I end up in a position like that of today where I’m the one who won most Roland Garros in history, well, all very well.
“But I don’t think my future will be worth any more if I equal Federer’s record or if I do something like Djokovic or whatever. I consider that I’m going much further than I dreamt about in my career.”
A dozen times a champion 🏆@RafaelNadal is the first player, male or female, to win the same major twelve times.
— ESPN (@espn) June 9, 2019