Nadal wins 11th French Open title

Elena Summers
June 11, 2018

Playing the King of Clay at the French Open is akin to scaling Mont Blanc without ropes and even an intrepid adventurer from Europe's Alpine heartland found it a peak too steep as Rafael Nadal stormed to an 11th men's singles title at Roland Garros.

The RM27-03 is just one of a number of flashy watches Nadal has worn during his playing career after sporting an even more expensive model, the RM27-02 at £580,000 during the 2015 French Open.

Nadal broke Argentinian Guillermo Vilas's 29-year record of 53 consecutive clay-court match victories by winning his first-round match at the 2006 French Open.

In addition, should Nadal not feature in Wimbledon this year, he will lose his No. 1 ranking if Federer retains his grass titles but the 11-time French Open victor is not anxious about the rankings. Now, six Slams later, Federer still keeps his lead at three. Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Fernando Alonso - but especially former and active tennis players praised the new chapter of history written by the 17-time Grand Slam victor. It was released at the start of the 2018 French Open. He staved off 12 of 17 break points and converted one of three he earned.

Despite there being a wave of momentum now carrying the Spaniard following such a deserved win over Thiem, Nadal's most hard task of the year is yet to come at Wimbledon. Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, the Austrian had Nadal scampering with a massive forehand down the line, but with the entire expanse of the court to play with, he dumped a resultant backhand volley into the net.

Nadal's career earnings are now at $100.5m.

There are just three weeks to go until Wimbledon; with Andy Murray's participation in doubt and Novak Djokovic off form and nursing his elbow, Nadal will surely be up there with Roger Federer as the favourites for the biggest title of the year. "Then hopefully I can do it better than today". And of course, with it being on clay, Nadal is an overwhelming favorite.

If there were any reason for a bit of intrigue entering Sunday's match, it was this: Thiem is the only person to beat Nadal on red clay over the past two seasons, doing so at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month.

Nadal's Barcelona Open semifinal win over David Goffin was his 400th tour-level clay-court match win, making him the fourth man in the Open Era to win 400 matches on clay, after Vilas (659), Manuel Orantes (502) and Muster (422). "Actually, when he won here the first four or five times, I was always watching it". Victory also took Nadal's record at Roland Garros to 86 wins and just two losses. Whether it was at the Masters tournaments in Monte Carlo, Madrid, or Rome-whether it was his home tournament in Barcelona-Nadal nearly never lost on the Spaniard.

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