Nadal wins La Duodécima at his beloved Roland Garros to move on to 18 Grand Slam titles – just two behind Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal captured a record-extending 12th French Open title by overcoming the fierce challenge from Dominic Thiem to win 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 on Sunday.
In a rematch of last year’s final, the Spaniard proved to be the king of the red dirt of Roland Garros as he became the first man or woman to win the same Grand Slam tournament 12 times – moving clear of the 11 titles won by Margaret Court at the Australian Open.
An 18th Grand Slam title overall moved Nadal to within two of Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record.
“The first thing I want to say is congrats to Dominic and sorry because he deserves it too,” said Nadal.
“I really hope he will get the chance to win in the future because he has a big passion for the sport and he’s a hard worker and I want to encourage him.
“I cannot explain my feelings. For me it was a dream to play here for the first time in 2005. It’s truly incredible and very special for me.”
Nadal made yet more history as Thiem fired his return long on his second championship point before sinking into the red stuff in disbelief to keep his iron grip on the Coupe des Mousquetaires.
Thiem received a huge ovation as he collected his runner-up trophy, and he said: “It’s very tough right now because I gave everything I had these last two weeks. I love this tournament with all my heart.
“Rafa, well done. Of course I’m very sad to lose but you’re such an amazing champion, such a legend of our sport. It’s amazing 12 times here, it’s unreal, and I will try next year again for sure.”