After winning his first French Open title seventeen years ago, Rafael Nadal is still dominating his favorite tennis tournament at the ripe old age of 36.
The Spaniard equaled the record for fewest games allowed in a major final with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory over the young Norwegian in the finals of the French Open. He was the oldest man to win a tennis tournament.
King Felipe VI of Spain and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway sat next to each other as other people watched the game.
After winning the Australian Open in January, Nadal increased his lead over his rivals to two Slam titles.
John McEnroe said on NBC that he didn't think he would last until 36.
Despite a chronic foot problem that caused him to limp off the court after a loss in Rome, Nadal looked his best this fortnight. He was 28-1 in the finals of the French Open. In the Grand Slam finals, Nadal is 22-8.
Pete Sampras won 14 majors during his Hall of Fame career and he is considered one of the greatest to ever play the game. His 14 majors have long been overshadowed by the others, who have won 61 of them.
Looking towards his box, Nadal said, "It's just amazing the things that are happening this year, so I just can thank you very, very much for all the things that you are doing with me and you did over the years." Nothing of this will be possible without you. We went through a very difficult time with injuries.
"If I don't have a great support from team, family, everybody that have been next to me, nothing of this will be possible."
Nadal has a chance to win the calendar Grand Slam but it appears he won't compete at Wimbledon and will give himself a chance to rest. Alexander Zverev, who tore a knee in his semifinal against Nadal, is one of several top players who will not be at Wimbledon.
Iga witek, a huge fan of Nadal, won her 35th straight match and second French Open with a straight-set win over 18-year-old American Coco Gauff. Before the match, Nadal wished witek good fortune. Gauff and her partner lost in the doubles final to a French team.
The top half of the draw was more difficult for Nadal to navigate. He defeated four players, including a five-set win over Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Entering the final, he had won 10 matches in a row and 13 of 14 and had led the tour with seven clay court titles.
Nadal was in trouble early on.
A buggy whip forehand winner by Nadal gave him a 2-0 lead on his first service game. After a shaky game in which Nadal himself was broken, he earned a second break and went on to win the game. He finished the set with a service winner.
In the second set, Ruud raced out to a 3-1 lead and appeared to be gaining on the other side. Nadal won the second set on his fourth set point and the first set on a double-fault.
Nadal won 11 games in a row. With the score at 5-5 in the third, Nadal broke to win it with a backhand up the line and then shook hands with his opponent.
"It's your 14th time here, 22nd all-around in Grand Slams and we all know what a champion you are." It is difficult to play against you in a final.
I know there have been many prior victims.
He said, "You are a true inspiration for me, for everyone who follows tennis around the world, so we all hope that you will continue for some more time."