Once again, and there are 14, the stars aligned at Roland Garros for Rafa Nadal to triumph in a place where he was not wanted at first and of which he is now master and lord. The Balearic is surrounded by a mystique in Paris, a magical halo that makes things almost always go well for him. This Sunday a storm was expected in the French capital at the time of the final, but the rain did not appear and the sun, little by little, pushed until the clouds completely opened, leaving just the space occupied by the Philippe Chatrier track. There, Nadal, with his left foot anesthetized, beat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and 18 minutes to regain the throne and lift his 14th Musketeers Cup (nobody has won as much in the same event), 17 years just after biting the first on June 5, 2005. Thus he added the 22nd Grand Slam title, two more than his pursuers from the Big Three, Djokovic and Federer (the Swiss was in the city). Without much fuss, with respect for his opponent and friend whom he hugged, Rafa dropped his racket, covered his face with his hands before bending down and then standing up with his arms raised and tears in his eyes. Although one has seen it on so many occasions, it always excites.

Nadal finally manages to win in Melbourne and Roland Garros in the same course, and with his lowest entry ranking, number five (on Monday it will be number four). And he is the fourth tennis player to beat four top-10 in a row (Auger-Aliassime (9th), Djokovic (1st), Zverev (3rd) and Ruud (8th)) on the way to a major title after Mats Wilander in Paris (1982) and Federer in Melbourne (2017). At 36 years and two days old, he is also the oldest champion in the tournament, succeeding another Spaniard, Andrés Gimeno.who was 34 years and 10 months old in 1972. “I don’t know what awaits me in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting to continue”He said at the trophy ceremony.

With his skillful narrative, Rafa, a consummate expert in handling delicate situations in the most important tournaments, he was placed in a secondary role, below other candidates such as Djokovic himself and even Carlos Alcaraz. He came with real doubts because of his lucky foot, the one that almost made him retire in Rome when he played against Shapovalov. Weeks earlier, a rib injury had slowed down his impeccable career with titles in Melbourne, the Australian Open and Acapulco. He was riding 20 wins in a row until that rib problem hit him in the Indian Wells final against Fritz. He had already achieved the impossible before, in the antipodes with that incredible comeback against Medvedev. And at Roland Garros, amid rumors of withdrawal generated by his own words, he repeats success, not as epic, but with the same merit. He consummated it on the last day, although, with all due respect to Zverev and Ruud, Nadal had already won the night he took down Djokovic.just after Alcaraz was eliminated, who would have been his next rival.

From less to more

The best player on clay since 2020, with 66 wins, nine finals and seven wins, was overwhelmed by the presence of his idol and mentor at the Manacor Academy, where he has progressed since 2018. It was the worst possible scenario against the most difficult rival, whom he had also never faced, although he knows him well from shared training, to make his debut in a grand final, and that was too much for him. Without resorting to his best tennis, Nadal sapped Casper’s stamina in the first set, rallied from a poor start in the second, and overcame him in the third when sunlight and heat fueled his style of play.with the ball less swollen and more lively to catch the revolutions and the effects that the man from Manacor masterfully manages.

The final was somewhat lackluster, let’s not fool ourselves, which does not detract from the importance or virtue of Rafa’s deed, a giant who has lived with pain since the beginning of his career, and yet he has managed to prevail as the best tennis player of all time. Surely he will remember this title as one of the most special for everything he suffered before and during. Playing phenomenally, well, regularly and even poorly, he is capable of being the greatest in almost any circumstance, because of that unwavering mentality that so many admire and some envy. The one that has made him a legend, forever and ever. The sport, and especially the people he makes so happy, wish him a long life.

Rafael Nadal


Casper Ruud


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