Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rafa's Clay Masterclass Sends out Ominous Warning to Murray; Nadal Looks Stronger Than Ever as He Retains His Title, Which Spells Danger for the British No1 at Wimbledon. Dan Jones Reports

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rafa's Clay Masterclass Sends out Ominous Warning to Murray; Nadal Looks Stronger Than Ever as He Retains His Title, Which Spells Danger for the British No1 at Wimbledon. Dan Jones Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

IN THE last act of the French Open Final, Rafael Nadal opened his body, hammered his forehand past a wrong-footed David Ferrer and fell promptly backwards onto the clay, hurling his racket away and clasping both hands to his face. When he leapt up, his white shirt was imprinted with red crushed brick in the shape of a pair of angel wings.

It was an appropriate symbol. Nadal is as close to a saint as there is at Roland Garros. He has won the title eight times in nine years -- they might as well give him the keys to the place.

Yesterday's 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory against Ferrer was as simple as any Nadal has enjoyed on the French clay since 2005. Ferrer may have broken the Nadal serve in three games but the effect was approximately that of an incompetent bullfighter, who, in thrusting away at the beast, only serves to make it angry. Between Ferrer with a racket in his hand and the semi-naked bloke waving a flare who invaded the court during the second set, it was hard to know who stood the lesser chance of upsetting the champion.

Yesterday's final illustrated two truths.

Firstly, men's tennis is still an impenetrable club of four -- Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, one of whom will almost certainly win every Grand Slam final for the next two or three years.

Secondly, within this band of four, at Roland Garros there is an elite of one. Nadal looked as unbeatable yesterday as he did when he won his first title here. Eight titles in one Slam event is a record in men's tennis. Next year, all being well with Rafa's knee, that record should rise to nine. And then what? How many French Opens can Nadal win? Ten? Eleven? Twelve? Surely not. But Nadal's return following a lay-off of nearly eight months has been astonishing. His defeat by Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon last summer was so unexpected that it seemed as though the Spaniard was about to leave the sport as suddenly and spectacularly as he arrived. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.