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Slam drought done, Nadal heads to grass

13 Juin 2017

The lower bounce of the balls on grass put extra stress on Nadal's knees, while on clay and on hard courts he does not have to get down so low to play his shots because of the higher bounce.

It marked a stirring return to the top for Nadal at his preferred event and on his preferred surface: Over his career, he is 79-2 at the French Open and 102-2 in all best-of-five-set matches on clay. Nadal is no longer the 19-year-old he was when he won his first French Open title in his tournament debut in 2005, wearing long white pirate shorts, his flowing locks wrapped by a white headband, his sleeveless shirt revealing bulging biceps.

His defeat to his Swiss Rival in January, gave Federer his 18 Grand Slam.

This year so far has been like a renaissance for the elder statesmen of the sport, and, like Roger Federer, Nadal is one whose standards have taken a turn for the better in recent months. On clay, it's 7-1.

But for Rafael Nadal, plagued by injuries and forced out of tennis's limelight over the past few seasons, Sunday's victory at Roland Garros was "unique". The Spaniard had other ideas, though.

Wawrinka, the 2015 champion at Roland Garros, had been in scintillating form when dispatching world number one Andy Murray in Friday's epic semi-final.

The evergreen Spaniard produced a stunning performance to win his 10 French Open title, a record in the Open Era.

Nadal was imperious during his straight sets victory over Stan Wawrinka, yesterday.

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Key Stat: Nadal ended Federer's 27-match winning streak at majors, preventing him from a fourth Grand Slam title in a row.

Rafa's better serving has been a boon all year and Sunday he dropped just seven points on his first serve while winning 65% of his second. "I have been very honest with you all the time", he said.

Nadal was relentless though, pinning Wawrinka back behind the baseline. It remains their most recent meeting at Roland Garros, with Nadal holding a ideal 5-0 record.

A 15th grand slam title. Her haul came at the Australian Open. Nadal's run through the Roland Garros draw speaks to his motivation, desire and longevity.

Heading into Roland Garros, he'd lost just one match on clay in 2017.

But the record-breaking ten-time French Open champion believes that if he and his legs make it through the early rounds then he will be able to make his first serious challenge at SW19 since 2011. Nadal was at his most masterful on the stage he has made his own and needed just two hours and five minutes to beat Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

Spain's Rafael Nadal poses for photos as part of a promotional event on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday, June 12, 2017. There were promising signs at the Australian Open but Federer, himself having overcome knee and back issues, was too good in the Melbourne final.

Another one can now be added to the list - and it is one for the ages - after the Spaniard crushed Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1 to become the first man to win the same grand slam on 10 occasions. His place in history guaranteed for years to come with an achievement it seems unlikely will be matched.

Slam drought done, Nadal heads to grass