11 Jun 2012

Magnificent seven as Nadal makes tennis ‘HIS7ORY’

Rafael Nadal becomes the first man to win seven French Open titles after beating Novak Djokovic in four sets; keeping the rivalry alive, a tennis blogger tells Channel 4 News.

Magnificent seven as Rafael Nadal makes tennis history. (Reuters)

The Spaniard sank to his knees in celebration after clinching victory against world number one Novak Djokovic, 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5, surpassing fellow clay court legend Bjorn Borg’s record at the tournament.

The Serb had been aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand slam trophies at once following three successive victories over Nadal, but this time the king of clay turned the tables.

“For me it is a great honour,” Nadal told the crowd, holding the Musketeers Cup during the presentation ceremony at Roland Garros.

“This tournament is probably the most special in the world and having this trophy with me I am really emotional. It is probably one of the most special moments in my career.”

On his Twitter feed the star (@RafaelNadal) simply wrote #HIS7ORY after the epic game.

Nima Naderi from the Tennis Connected blog told Channel 4 News his win is “good for the sport”.

“It was a great win for Nadal because it kept alive his rivalry with Djokovic. If Djokovic had won four in a row over Nadal in major finals then there would really be no rivalry,” he explained.

If Djokovic had won four in a row over Nadal in major finals then there would really be no rivalry. Nima Naderi

“Nadal is a better clay court player, plain and simple. He’s defeated Djokovic 12 times out of 14 on clay. Djokovic is a better hard court player.”

He added: “Nadal now has 11 majors and is five away from Federer’s mark of 16. He’s one of the greatest players ever. He could be the greatest if he stays healthy.”

‘Mentally stronger’

Earlier six-time grand slam winner Boris Becker tweeted “Rafa looks mentally stronger” as the star put his frustrations with the wet weather behind him. Play had been suspended on Sunday with Nadal a break down in the fourth set.

The 26-year-old had been getting increasingly frustrated as they continued to play through the poor conditions on Sunday, with balls at times soaking wet. From two sets and a break up, he had lost eight games in a row before composing himself to win the final game before the break.

Today Nadal was back to the player who had raced into a 3-0 lead in the first set, managing to generate his vicious top spin on the dry balls.

The Serb’s resistance crumbled and he ended the match on a double fault, with Nadal falling to his knees on the clay as he savoured a moment of history.

“Congratulations to Rafa and his team for another title; he is a great player,” Djokovic said after the match.

“I am privileged to be in this position for the first time. Rafa was a better player and I hope to come back next year and play even better.”

Magnificent seven as Rafael Nadal makes tennis history. (Reuters)