Rafael Nadal wins remarkable 12th-career French Open

AFP  Thomas Samson

Three of those sets came to Federer (first set in 2006 by a score of 6-1, second set in 2007 by a score of 6-4, and third set in 2011 by a score of 7-5), two of those sets came to Djokovic (third set in 2012 by a score of 6-2 and first set in 2014 by a score of 6-3) and one set came to Mariano Puerta of Argentina in a first set tiebreak.

"I know that [Roger] Federer is there, Djokovic is there, Dominic [Thiem], many good players, but I want to think that Rafael has the possibility because it's impossible to work well without confidence".

But speaking after his victory, Nadal revealed to his compatriot Corretja that he was struggling with some health concerns.

"It's very special for me".

Two years ago he lost a five-setter against Gilles Muller in the fourth round while last year he pushed Novak Djokovic all the way in a tremendous two-day semi-final. And as everybody knows, I am not able to play so many weeks in a row like I did 10 years ago, eight years ago. He won't enter a grass-court tuneup event, figuring that time off to rest is what he needs more than anything else. Even if the first year have been that match against Muller, I played great tennis there too.

"I don't know what the future will bring, but I'm sure it will be bright".

Between them they now have 53 Grand Slam titles from the last 64 played dating back to Federer's first Wimbledon triumph in 2003 when he was aged 21.

Nadal believes he has been close to adding a third Wimbledon title to his collection in the last couple of years, when he also pitched up without any competitive grasscourt matches under his belt.

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"What gives me a better chance is being healthy more than playing a lot of matches before".

Sunday's exhibition showed that you made the right decision. "That someone wins 12 Times in Roland Garros".

It has been more than 15 years since Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic began their collection of Grand Slam titles and the bad news for anyone eyeing tennis's big prizes is their stranglehold on men's tennis is as tight as ever.

However with a dominant performance on Sunday, it looks Nadal who is now ranked number 2 in the world will continue to play for quite a few years more, provided he can stay injury free. Why not? He's too good to not be a contender in any tournament he plays.

"Mentally, I was down". Nadal didn't seem too focused on that though, he was more keen on enjoying his current success. "You can't be frustrated all the time because the neighbor has a bigger house than you, or a bigger TV or better garden".

"I just try to do my way".

"I lost, I think, about 15 or even more Grand Slams in my career by injuries", Nadal said. I feel very lucky about all the things that are happening to me. This took even more confidence from the Swiss' game, suffering the second straight break in game nine to lose the opener 6-3 after a forehand victor from Rafa who saved all ten break points he had to play against!

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