Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

History Etched in Clay; Leo Schlink Was in Paris to Witness RafaelNadal's Perfect 10

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

History Etched in Clay; Leo Schlink Was in Paris to Witness RafaelNadal's Perfect 10

Article excerpt

THE King is back.

In Roland Garros exile for three years, Rafael Nadal reclaimed his French Open throne with a history-making 10th title, destroying Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1.

Posting his 15th major victory, and moving into outright second place behind Roger Federer (18) for the most major titles, the Spanish bull completed a phenomenal tournament with a devastating final display.

"The feeling that I have here is impossible to describe and is difficult to compare to other places," Nadal said, struggling to contain his emotions.

"The nerves, the adrenaline that I feel this court is impossible to compare.

"This court is the most important in my career and to win here again is impossible to describe."

Winless at the highest level since 2014, Rafael Nadal sealed a vintage tournament with vintage numbers to cap a vintage claycourt season.

Boosting his overall record in Paris to 79 wins from 81 matches, Nadal posted his 102nd victory from 104 best-of-five set claycourt clashes.

Champion at Roland Garros in 2005-08 and 2010-14, Nadal secured "La Decima" without dropping a set.

Nadal, 31, this season also posted 10th titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and with victory in Paris, he completed the "Triple 10."

Losing only 35 games for the entire tournament, Nadal conceded the second lowest number of games behind Bjorn Borg's 32 in 1978.

Only two opponents - Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2014 - have denied Nadal on the court he has ruled for more than a decade.

And, as accomplished and talented as Wawrinka is, the Swiss never threatened to add his name to that list.

Nadal departed Paris in tears a year ago when a thumb injury cut short a promising campaign after three rounds.

The only tears this year were those of unadulterated elation as Nadal took apart world No 4 Wawrinka in 125 minutes.

Utterly demoralised, Wawrinka was simply bulldozed off the court, outmanoeuvred and outclassed.

The US Open champion was never able to establish a foothold and struck only 19 winners to Nadal's 27.

He was, however, gracious in defeat.

Unusually, Nadal's backhand was the deadlier wing. …

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