After two short campaigns at his beloved Major, Rafael Nadal was ready to restore order at Roland Garros in 2017. The Spaniard beat his seven rivals in straight sets and secured his tenth Parisian crown, becoming the first player to hold ‘La Decima’. in a single Major.
Competing in his 10th Roland Garros final, Nadal beat 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1 in two hours and five minutes to lift the trophy. Wawrinka had to work hard in the semi-final against Andy Murray, and he had nothing left in the tank for a rested opponent determined to lift his first major trophy in three years.
Nadal was the favourite, and he showed it on the court after a solid display on serve and return. Stan had never lost a Major final, but he couldn’t hold the perfect score against the most formidable rival of the track Philippe-Chatrier.
Rafa secured his 15th major title and moved ahead of Pete Sampras, behind Roger Federer. The Spaniard has become the third oldest Roland Garros champion in the Open era, after Andrés Gimeno and Ken Rosewall. He joined Bjorn Borg on the roster with three Major crowns without dropping a set.
Nadal set another record and became the third player to win a major trophy as a teenager and in his 20s and 30s, following Ken Rosewall and Pete Sampras in that feat. Rafa did everything well on the pitch, crushing the opponent’s backhand with his forehand and pressing hard on the return.
Wilander praises Rafa Nadal
Former world number one Mats Wilander has praised Rafael Nadal for the changes he has made to his game over the years. “His tennis is much more entertaining than that of Djokovic and Federer.
The older he is, the more I enjoy watching him play. We see that he trusts his variations more than when he used to when he was 22 or 23,” said Wilander. Wilander, who covered the French Open with Eurosport as a commentator, was so overwhelmed by the 36-year-old’s performance that he expressed his wish to stop commentating and just watch the Spaniard play.
“Before, there was a repetitive aspect to his game. We knew exactly how he was going to win most points and do the job 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. Now he creates uncertainty. That is he going to do next? It’s like watching Federer when he was at his best. I don’t want to comment on his games anymore, I just want to watch him play,” said Wilander.