PARIS – He fooled us again, which is an achievement at this point in the game.
Maybe Rafael Nadal really makes sense when he’s underestimating his chances at Roland Carros, and there’s certainly no hypocrisy, especially when he’s limping and frowning in the final set of defeat in the opening round of the Italian Open last month. Grind and chronic pain in his left leg.
When Nadal returned to his favorite Roland Carros stomping ground, he found himself in an unfamiliar area. He was very limited in clay-court competitions and was without any European clay-court titles this season when the competition began.
But Natalie does not have the tonic like Paris red clay. On Sunday, after loading the top half of the draw, No. 8 seed Caspar Root won the French Open men’s final 6-3, much less than his best. The match lasted 2 hours and 18 minutes and was won 6-3, 6-0.
The win cemented Natalie’s 14th men’s singles title, extending her French Open record of appearing undefeated each spring.
He extended his lead in the three-way Major race with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nadal now holds the men’s record for 22 Grand Slam singles titles, two more than Djokovic, who was defeated by Nadal in the quarterfinals here, and Federer, who is recovering from his latest knee surgery at 40.
Sunday’s victory was attended by Billy Jean King and King Philippe VI of Spain, and at the age of 36 Nadal, the oldest man to win the French Open, surpassed his compatriot Andres Kimeno, who won the title in 1972 at the age of 34.
How many posts. When Philip Chatterjee entered the court as the first Norwegian to play in a Grand Slam singles final, 23-year-old Norwegian Rudd did not need to be reminded of his opponent’s achievements.
Rudd, who made it into the top 10 last year, came from a country that excels in snow over clay, and had two major role models. His father, Christian, coached him, and he became the 39th-ranked touring player in 1995. Also Nadal had his extreme topspin forehand and tough fighting ability.
He began training with his team at the Nadal Tennis Academy in Majorca, Spain in 2018, and played in training sets against Nadal – and lost.
He played golf with Nadal and thought he had a sobering experience to discover that Nadal’s tournament was not limited to tennis.
But Sunday’s first chance to meet Natalie on this tour.
“We all know what a champion you are and I realized how to play in the final against you today,” Root told the crowd after the match. “It’s not easy, I’m not the first victim.”
That too before the final. Still he is sure he has not changed his mind.
“Lifelong social media lover. Falls down a lot. Creator. Devoted food aficionado. Explorer. Typical troublemaker.”