Nadal ended a four-match losing streak against Djokovic to clinch a fifth successive Roland Garros title and ninth overall but admitted in the post-match interview that his rival “deserved to win today”.
Nadal also became the first player in eight years to come from losing the first set to clinch the Coupe des Mousquetaires but had to dig deep into his reserve to finally overcome the world No 2 in four sets.
A sole break in the first at 5-3 put Djokovic in the driving seat and with a break apiece in the second exchanged, it looked to be heading for a tie-break before Nadal produced his best to clinch the second 7-5.
The third set ran away from Djokovic as the searing heat sapped his energy and Nadal exerted his control on proceedings.
But in a fluctuating fourth it looked like Djokovic could force a decider but a wild miss on an easy volley at 3-2 down saw the Serb broken, and while he broke straight back the next game, serving to stay in the championship proved too much.
— Kelly (@MungoNGus) June 8, 2014
Having been pegged back from 30-0 up, a sole voice from the crowd put Djokovic off as he shaped for a second serve staring at championship down, and his dream of collecting a first French Open to complete a career grand slam was over.
No one should ever win anything nine times–it verges on impossible. And Nadal knows it. More tears after this one than I can ever remember.
— Tom Perrotta (@TomPerrotta) June 8, 2014
As usual, it was another cracking final between these two, probably not reaching the heights of their epic duels witnessed under the lights and in the cooler conditions in Australia, and while it didn’t have the long baseline rallies we’ve come to expect of these two, it certainly had plenty of drama.
Nadal, who will retain his place at the top of the rankings with the victory, has now won 14 Grand Slam titles, tied for second among the men with Pete Sampras. Only Roger Federer, with 17 majors, has more.
But Nadal is the only player to have won the same Grand Slam tournament nine times, and is the first to win five straight French Open titles. He also won at Roland Garros from 2005-08, but lost for the only time in the fourth round of the 2009 tournament.
Federer went on to win that year, completing a career Grand Slam. Via foxnews.com
Nadal on letting his emotions go after the win:
“Last year was emotional for a few things. This year are emotional for another ones. But for sure when you are able to win Roland Garros, always will be emotional, no?
And then more when your age is older, no? Last year was with 27; this year is with 28. That’s not forever.”
Djokovic on his tactics:
“I think he was covering the forehand angle quite well. My backhand cross-court wasn’t as effective as it was maybe in the previous matches against him.
He was hitting down the line forehand really, really well, so I think his first shot off the forehand, off my return, was terrific today.” Via tennis.si.com