Rafael Nadal overcomes cramp to add to French Open trophy collection

Doug Mendoza
June 13, 2018

Nadal won his record-extending 11th championship at the French Open on Sunday, overcoming a late problem with a finger on his racket-swinging hand and displaying his foe-rattling best for a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 7 seed Thiem, the only person to beat the Spaniard on clay over the past two seasons.

After sitting out the clay season to fully rest and prepare for the grass and last playing match in Miami on March 24, the 20-time grand slam victor is quietly confident that all is falling into place as he mounts his quest for a ninth Wimbledon trophy next month.

Thiem did at least remind Nadal of his age, saying; "I can still remember being 11 when (Nadal) won here for the first time and I watched on the TV".

He also was aware that Federer might go four clear of Nadal in a month at Wimbledon.

But Nadal roared into the 2017 Australian Open final, losing to Federer, then captured his record 10th French Open crown in June previous year, setting the stage for another title run in the Flushing Meadows fortnight at the US Open in September.

Nadal's welling eyes during the trophy ceremony provided a moment of vulnerability after a match that had very few of them, apart from a freakish interlude in the third set when Nadal abruptly stopped mid-service game with a disconcerted expression and left the baseline to request medical attention for a cramping left hand.

Sunday's score might have looked rather routine, but there was some drama in the third set in sticky Paris when Nadal called for the trainer at 2-1, 30-0.

As far as betting is concerned, we are getting a very short price on Roger Federer to win this match and as a result, I think it is best if we avoid betting on the outright result.

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Nadal moved, once again, to within three grand slams of the Swiss.

In 11 finals in Paris, Nadal has only lost six sets as he matched the all-time record of most singles titles won at the same grand slam event set by Margaret Court at the Australian Open during the 1960s and 70s.

"I am just trying to keep enjoying, and keep playing until my body resist, and my happiness still high playing tennis". I am not much anxious about the future.

"Still, I'm disappointed, of course".

"I play for my happiness, and I know that I had already, yeah, an unbelievable career". "It was just bad misses". But I never have been insane about all this kind of stuff.

Should the 20-time grand slam champion reach the final at the Mercedes Cup, something he has never previously done, he will replace Nadal as world number one.

Stream every match at Roland Garros live on the FOX+ app and catch up on highlights of any action you've missed.

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