Ten clay titles proves Nadal is the world master of the French Open. Goans express their joy and excitement on the Spaniard’s triumph
One is difficult. Two is impressive. Ten is Rafa,” said Nike on Twitter. The footwear manufacturing company honoured Rafael Nadal’s historic 10th win on Paris clay, by introducing NikeCourt Tennis Classic El Decimo.
Nike was just one among millions that celebrated Nadal’s feat.
In hindsight, there have been times in the recent past when you wondered if Rafael Nadal would ever win another Grand Slam title. Rafael Nadal had waited three long years to return as a winner at Roland Garros.
Crushing 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1 with a flawless display of controlled aggression in a final spanning just over two hours, Nadal continued a career-best run at the clay court major, where he is now a 10-time champion.
The history-making achievement is not only one of the greatest-ever feats in tennis, but arguably in that of sport overall.
With 15 titles, Nadal moves to second on the Grand Slam leaders list, trailing only Roger Federer’s 18.
He is the first man in the game’s long history to win 10 titles at a single Grand Slam.
Nadal claimed his 73rd career title overall and with it, Nadal is now putting pressure on Andy Murray at the top of the world rankings. The Spaniard will move up to No 2 in Monday’s updated list, one place ahead of Wawrinka and two ahead of Novak Djokovic, who falls to his lowest position in nearly eight years.
At the presentation ceremony Nadal was presented with a full-size replica of the Coupe des Mousquetaires by his uncle, Toni, who will not be touring with him after this year as he hands the coaching reins over to Carlos Moya.
Asked to look back over the years to the time when he won his first French Open title, Nadal said: “In 2005 I thought in 2017 I’d be fishing on my boat in Majorca. I didn’t really think I’d have such a long career and win so many tournaments.”
Rafa, as he is known, has his share of super Nadal fans in Goa.
Rohit Pagi who’s following Rafa ever since he was 12, said it was a very emotional match for him. He further added “ In every sense of the word, one of the best athletes of all time. And probably the best when it comes to the spirit of a champion, to never give up the fight to the bitter end. Nadal has nothing more to prove. He’s won grand slams for 10 straight years, defeated Federer at the age of 17, now and above all, he’s had the chance to live out his dream, and that was the only thing he ever asked for. And Rafael Nadal has proven once again that you should never write him off. He could be 90 years old in a wheelchair, but man - I’d still not count him out.”
Swati Prabhushastri managed to skip past security at the 2016 Davis Cup in Delhi and got a selfie photographed with her idol. “ He smiled, took my phone and clicked the selfie and then asked me my name. I was so delighted. I felt goosebumps and
it was an unbelievable moment,” said Swati enthusiastically. “ I am his fan since 2002, he is a champion and a gladiator. Whenever I am down, I think of Rafael and as he says, I play each point as if my life depends on it. He is an inspiration to all his fans. I try and watch all his matches and have seen all his grand slams and this victory is certainly ground breaking.”