Nadal like a Matisse masterpiece - Kuerten salutes French Open champion

Annette Crawford
June 14, 2019

Thiem downed the world number one 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in a match which spanned a full 24 hours.

While chiefly motivated by his rivalries with Nadal and Djokovic, Federer says his enthusiasm to keep evolving as a player comes from watching the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev and the new challenges they bring. "I was down mentally and physically after Indian Wells", said Nadal. I am very, very happy. "I was so far off the ball and couldn't play it any different way".

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.

"I am not able to play so many weeks in a row like I did 10 years ago, eight years ago".

Revealing he would be skipping all other grass court events to give himself the best possible chance of staying fit ahead of the event, which starts on July 1, he said: "I know I played a great event a year ago". The Spaniard was yet to find his rhythm, facing two more break points in game six and repelling them with good serves before Federer wasted the third opportunity with a massive forehand error that would have cost him a lot. There have been concerns raised over the last few years as to whether Nadal will be able to continue his dominance given the fact that he is now 33 years old and is coming to the end of his career.

Sunday's exhibition showed that you made the right decision. It is hard to imagine winning so much in the same place, particularly here at Roland-Garros. His win-loss record in the tournament has been 93-2.

"While you watched Nadal, as he won from every angle nearly impossible balls, you had to ask if anyone has ever played as good as Dominic Thiem and so little was rewarded", wrote the British newspaper "Daily Telegraph" on Monday.

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

"I want to follow my own journey, give myself the best opportunities, and give myself the possibility of competing at the highest level". After Madrid and Barcelona, I was thinking about what I needed to do.

Djokovic said his shock Roland Garros defeat to Thiem, which ended his dream of becoming just the second man in history to hold all Grand Slam titles at the same time twice, was played out in "hurricane conditions". Nadal didn't seem too focused on that though, he was more keen on enjoying his current success. Rafa said: "You can not be thinking "one more" all the time, otherwise you are never happy".

"So I just try to be positive, to be intense, and to be passionate about what I am doing".

By his own estimates, his career-long battles against knee and wrist injuries have cost him "around 15 or even more Grand Slams". I feel very lucky about all the things that are happening to me.

He also had knee issues in the run-up to the French Open but played superbly throughout the fortnight.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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