Former world No1 Rafael Nadal admitted that becoming the first eight-time winner of a Grand Slam was beyond even his wildest dreams.
In the first all-Spanish final since 2002, Nadal claimed yet another French Open title, beating his compatriot David Ferrer in straight sets: 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
“Well that’s just amazing. It’s more than I even dream about,” said Nadal. The Spaniard was visibly delighted at having surpassed the previously held record of winning a Grand Slam tournament seven times, shared by both Pete Sampras and Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
“In the last year I have had some low moments but without my family I would not have done this,” he added. “Without my physio I could not have done this. I never realised something like this could happen for me.”
Defeated Ferrer, who could not convert his first final berth at a Grand Slam into a victory, said: “He [Nadal] is the best.
“I would like to win a Slam. It is going to be difficult, but I will fight to reach a final again.”
Ferrer started off confidently, refusing to allow himself to be rattled after having his serve broken by Nadal in only the third game of the first set. Ferrer showed resilience to break back and level the score at 2-2, but Nadal broke again to achieve a 5-3 lead and then hung on to close out the set.
Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set as storm clouds began to loom, almost as if he wanted to show Mother Nature that she was not allowed to dictate the match: he was the king of this tournament, not her.
Circumstances conspired to delay the inevitable victory. Ferrer pushed Nadal to his limits on several occasions, but failed to convert the decisive break points.
The match was nearly suspended because of the bad weather. Even protesters in the stadium contributed to the cause: from causing a ruckus in the stands at the top of the stadium, to a man with a flare racing right onto the court towards the eventual victor.
The incident seemed to rattle Nadal, as he allowed his serve to be broken in the game that followed, delaying his winning of the second set.
But win it he did, and the third set was merely a formality as despite having a chance to break at 3-3, Ferrer was never able to capitalise on the opportunities presented to him, and slumped to defeat.
Ultimately, nothing could prevent Nadal from bulldozing his way to the familiar sight of him lifting the Roland Garros trophy.