After a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 tour de force against Stan Wawrinka in the final at Roland Garros on Sunday, capping two weeks of almost flawless tennis on red clay - zero sets conceded; only 35 games dropped in seven matches - Nadal was asked whether he would rate himself as highly as ever right now. And he stays ideal in French Open finals at 10-0 (20-0 when he makes the French semifinals).
Having completed an unprecedented feat that seems unlikely to be matched in the near future, we analyse how Nadal - the undisputed "King of Clay" - built a legacy that ensured his place in tennis folklore.
"There have been magical things that happened in this tournament for me". So very happy for everything.
"I have doubts today, I had doubts in the last three years, I will have doubts in a few days". (There) have been some tough moments with injuries, so it's great to have (a) big success like this again.
Spain's Rafael Nadal claimed his record tenth French Open title on June 11.
Finally back to full strength in the offseason, Nadal returned to work, reconstructing his forehand and redoubling his efforts to be elite.
Nadal lost just 35 games in seven matches at Roland Garros: his aura has been well and truly restored to its former glory.
Another fizzing forehand victor swept Nadal through to a love break of serve at the start of the third and the nine-time champion had too much experience to let such a commanding lead slip.
And Nadal? Both he and his uncle Toni, who is also his coach, keep pointing to one key factor when it comes to how he'll fare at the All England Club.
"So if you have no doubts probably is because you are too arrogant. And I'm going to try to keep working hard to try to enjoy more attractive weeks". Nadal's serve was a strength last Sunday, when he faced-and saved-just one break point.
"But keep in mind I played five finals in Wimbledon".
Rafael Nadal only made 12 unforced errors in the final, compared to 29 for Wawrinka.
"Wawrinka had a really tough semi (he needed five sets to beat Andy Murray)". To rub salt into the wounds, the Spaniard would end the year at the top of the rankings for the first time in his career. Wawrinka only could win 52% of his first serves, 44% of second.
Only Australia's Margaret Court has more victories at a single Grand Slam tournament, with 11 Australian Open wins between 1960 and 1973.
"The nerves, the adrenaline that I feel when I play in this court is impossible to compare".
"I was always a little bit between for a few reasons".
"If you play Rafa, if you're not completely free with what you think and what you're going to do, and not completely relaxed the way you're going to play, you have no chance", said the Swiss.
"Right now, I don't really know".
"He's playing the best he's ever played".
Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, slid from No. 2 to No. 4 in the new rankings, his lowest status in 7 1/2 years.
While other players experience ups and downs, Nadal never appears to falter, consistently emerging from the field as the best player in the world. That's for sure. But not only here. "I think since the beginning of the year, you can see he's playing more aggressive, staying more close (to) the (baseline)".
Nadal also became the first player in history to win ten titles of one Grand Slam tournament.
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