Rafael Nadal wins another French Open crown

Rafael Nadal

The dust will hardly have settled on Nadal's record-extending 11th Roland Garros title achieved with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 defeat of Austrian Dominic Thiem before the demolition teams move in to start ripping out chunks of the old concrete.

Australia's Margaret Court is the only other player to have won the same major - the Australian Open - 11 times.

As Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem warmed up before the French Open final, the booming voice of an announcer at Court Philippe Chatrier called out each player's bona fides.

The number of Grand Slam singles titles now held by Nadal, who is second on the all-time list among men in the Open Era, behind Federer (20), and ahead of Pete Sampras (14), Djokovic and Roy Emerson (12 each).

Veteran pair Nadal and Federer have won the past six Grand Slams as their younger rivals struggle to dislodge them at the pinnacle of the game.

In 2007, he became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win a hat-trick of Roland Garros titles.

He saved three break points in his first service game but a wayward backhand ensured Nadal took the fourth.

Nadal defeated fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the semi-finals and afterwards the Argentine said it is "almost impossible" to beat Nadal on clay.

Nadal wept after being handed the trophy by Australian legend Ken Rosewall - who won the inaugural French Open in 1968.

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Another feature was his ridiculously slow play when serving, nearly always over the 25-second limit and sometimes going well into the thirties.

"When someone wins 11 times here, for me it's unbelievable", he told reporters.

"What you did and what you are doing", Thiem told Nadal during the trophy ceremony, "is one of the most outstanding things that any athlete is doing in any sport".

"Yes, and it's going to take probably one or two more years", said Gunter Bresnik, Thiem's coach.

Thiem dug in - especially in the roughly 13-minute sixth game - but he crumbled attempting to stay in the set, making four unforced errors. A forehand wide. A forehand into the net. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators.

Soon, Nadal was finding his spots.

But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away.

Ramos is now in Russian Federation with the Spanish squad as they prepare for the World Cup, but took time out to tweet in Spanish, hailing Nadal for his "dynasty on clay", calling him a "tennis legend" and "sporting hero".

"I am just trying to keep enjoying, and keep playing until my body resist, and my happiness still high playing tennis".

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