The same clay surface, the same Philippe Chatrier Stadium and the same champion – Rafael Nadal. This sight does not get old, Nadal reaching the French Open final and then beating the opponent to get another Grand Slam. On Sunday, the Clay Court King defeated yet another French Open Gran Slam aspirant – Dominic Thiem – with a straight-set victory 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to collect his 11th Roland Garros title and 17th Grand Slam overall.
He is now reaching close to his old-age rival Roger Federer’s tally of 20 Grand Slam titles. With age on Nadal’s side, it is quite obvious that fans expect him to overhaul the Swiss legend. But Nadal doesn’t feel that way. To become the man with as many Grand Slam titles, such targets do not concern Rafa.
“I have never been crazy about this kind of stuff. You can’t always be frustrated if somebody has more money than you, a bigger house than you if somebody has more Grand Slams than you. You can’t live with this feeling. Of course, I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more but it’s not something that is on my mind,” said Nadal after winning the title.
Injuries have haunted Nadal during his entire career and have resulted in him sitting out of nine Grand Slam tournaments. During Australian Open 2018 quarter-final against Marin Cilic, Nadal with a hip problem was forced to retire. Even on Sunday during the final of French Open 2018, Nadal halted play in the third set due to cramp in his finger.
With injuries keeping him at bay Nadal has plans to return to Paris in 2019 and try to win his 12th French Open title. But he believes that age is catching up to him.
“You can’t fight against age and you can’t fight against the watch. The watch keeps going always. So that’s it. If you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here at 32 years old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something almost impossible, but here we are. So I am not much worried about the future. Tennis is a very important part of my life, without a doubt, but is not everything,” Nadal added.