King of clay Rafael Nadal hailed his enduring love affair with the French Open after becoming the first player in the Open Era to win the same grand slam for a 10th time.
Despite repeated injury problems in recent years, Nadal looked his imperious best at his beloved Roland Garros as he swatted aside third seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
As well as bringing the Spaniard “La Decima” – his 10th triumph in Paris – it was also Nadal’s 15th grand slam overall, putting him outright second on the all-time list behind rival Roger Federer, who has 18.
“I play my best at all events, but the feeling here is impossible to describe. It’s impossible to compare it to another place,” he said.
“The nerves, the adrenaline I feel on the court are impossible to compare to another feeling. This is the most important event in my career.”
Victory saw the Majorca-born 31-year-old become the oldest man to win the French Open in the Open Era, though he showed no signs of waning throughout this edition of the tournament.
Nadal lost just 35 games across the fortnight as he swept to the title in familiar style, and concede just one solitary break point to Wawrinka in the final, which he duly defended.
Wawrinka had won all three of his previous grand slam finals but wasted his only chance to seize the early initiative, and Nadal took control with a run of seven unanswered games.
That started when Nadal broke the Swiss in the sixth game, and after wrapping up the set he opened up a 3-0 lead in the second that would prove decisive.
Wawrinka fought back from 2-1 down to Sir Andy Murray in the semi-final but had no answer to Nadal, who broke twice more in the third to claim title No10 with a straight-sets win.
“He puts this doubt in your head when you play against him,” Wawrinka said of Nadal. “He is playing the best he has ever played, that’s for sure. But not only here.”
Margaret Court is the only player to have won more editions of the same grand slam, with 11 wins at the Australian Open, but her run of success began before the Open Era in 1968.