Rafael Nadal still the king at French Open
It was Rafael Nadal who made history at Roland Garros on Monday. Starting from the overnight score of 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2 Nadal won the fourth set 7-5 to defeat Novak Djokovic and claim a record seventh French Open title.
It was Rafael Nadal who made history at Roland Garros on Monday. Starting from the overnight score of 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, Nadal won the fourth set 7-5 to defeat Novak Djokovic and claim a record seventh French Open title. (All AFP and AP Images)
The match ended on Djokovic's double-fault, an awkward conclusion to a final that had plenty of stops and starts due to rain.
Nadal fell to his knees and buried his head in his hands, then clambered into the stands to hug his family after the win.
Rafa denied Djokovic in his own run at history — the quest for the "Novak Slam." The Serb was trying to become the first man since Rod Laver, 43 years ago, to win four straight major titles.
With the win, Nadal broke the record of six French Open trophies that he shared with Bjorn Borg, improved to 52-1 at Roland Garros and beat the man who had defeated him in the last three Grand Slam finals.
Nadal won his 11th overall Grand Slam title, tying him with Borg and Laver for fourth among the all-time leaders.
Spanish Princess Elena, in red coat, the eldest daughter of Spain's King Juan Carlos attends the men's final match of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic was called for the day because of rain on Sunday with Nadal clinging to a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2 lead.
However, it was Djokovic who had the momentum when play was stopped due to rain for the second time.
Djokovic reeled off eight games in succession to take the third set and lead 2-0 in the fourth. Nadal had stopped the rot for 2-1 before play was suspended.
In a record fourth successive Grand Slam final between the two, and following their almost six-hour epic in Australia, Nadal swept into a two-set lead with Djokovic undone by 30 unforced errors.
A frustrated Djokovic also earned a warning for smashing his raquet into his courtside chair box which left a gaping hole in the front.
Djokovic looked helpless over the first two sets, during which he repeatedly gestured up to his guest box, seemingly looking for answers.
The first game of the fourth set featured a gruelling 44-shot rally.
The two players consistently exchanged long rallies and break of serves.
Spanish world number two Nadal, playing in his 16th Grand Slam final and seeking an 11th major, went into Sunday's final with a staggering record of 51 wins against just one loss at Roland Garros.
Djokovic, the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion, is looking to emulate Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) by holding four majors at the same time.
The last time a French Open men's final failed to be completed on a Sunday was 1973 when it was played on the following Tuesday with Ilie Nastase beating Niki Pilic.
Three times French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, of Brazil, and his wife Mariana, left, hold their daughter Maria Augusta before the men's final match.
Nadal's mother Ana Maria Parera (L), sister Maria Isabel Nadal (C) and girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello, Xisca, (R) watch the final.