Roy Emerson's record for most Grand Slam titles won by a male singles player was good for 33 years. It was in the summer of 1967 that he won the last of his 12 trophies and only in 2000 did Pete Sampras surpass it. But few expected a man to earn an equivalent number from just one major, let alone in a period of just 15 years. Rafael Nadal did exactly that on Parisian clay on Sunday and captured his 12th Open French and 18th Major overall. This is an era in which Roger Federer, the all-time leader in Majors (20) and Novak Djokovic (15), in turn, together with Nadal, have ignored the limits of greatness. But even by those lofty standards, Nadal & # 39; s performance is unparalleled. His record at Roland-Garros is no less than 93-2, and he has won more trophies there than any man or woman at a single Grand Slam. The victory did not come easily; he had to overcome an excited Dominic Thiem, widely praised and rightly so, as the Spaniard's heir on the surface. The 25-year-old Austrian had in fact defeated Nadal in each of the last four seasons and was a much better player since losing the 2018 final. But the challenge of controlling a physically fit and mentally keen Nadal is more than most.

The triumph also came on the back of a few months of testing for Nadal. The 33-year-old ended in the cloud of injury in 2018 and had to lose a deflation for Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open in January. In the run-up to the French Open, he was on the eve of not making a final on his beloved clay for the first time since 2004, until he set down a winning series at the Italian Open. But once in Paris, he was a transformed man and turned to what was perhaps his most complete show. From the defensive half he showed the kind of athletics and shots that betrayed his age. Federer had a hard time when he collapsed in straight sets in the semi-finals. His play on the forecourt, an underestimated part of his game, was fatal and only came in for the assured murder, as the 23 of the 27 points he won on the net against Thiem indicate. Even when Nadal established himself as an almost constant between men, the women's game threw another surprise winner, this time at Ashleigh Barty in Australia. The style of the 23-year-old is wonderfully old-school, with a nicely constructed point that prefers murderous first-strike tennis. Combined with a relentless calm, she opened 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday to end her country's long wait for a new slam champion.

. (tagsToTranslate) editorial (t) Roy Emerson (t) Grand Slam titles (t) male single player (s) Pete Sampras (t) Major (t) Paris (t) clay (t) Rafael Nadal (t) French Open ( t) Roger Federer (t) Novak Djokovic (t) Roland-Garros (t) Dominic Thiem (t) Spaniard (t) Austrian Open (t) French Open (t) Italian Open (t) Ashleigh Barty (t) ) Marketa Vondrousova

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