• French Open, Day 16

Emotional Nadal savours seventh Roland Garros crown

ESPN staff
June 11, 2012 « London 2012 just the start for GB basketball | Chartbeat test »

Rafael Nadal admitted he had to deal with a bout of nerves after enduring a lengthy wait to secure his seventh French Open title.

Nadal was forced to return to the court on Monday to complete a 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as he surpassed Bjorn Borg as the first man to win seven French Open titles.

While Nadal admitted his 11th grand slam victory was an emotional one, he also conceded it was one of the most difficult wins of his career, owing to the disruption caused by the weather.

"For me it's a really emotional day to win another time here," Nadal said. "Sure the seventh is important because I am the player who has more today, but that's after, the most important thing is to win Roland Garros, whether it's the first, second, third or seventh.

"It was very hard for me since yesterday. I've been playing this match since Friday afternoon; it's a long time preparing, and then yesterday with all the stops. I really felt nervous. My feeling was I wasn't ready for the match until three minutes before. That was the first moment since we stopped yesterday that I really felt that I am here to play. I was more nervous than usual because of the situation.

"It was clearly a good thing for me to stop the match yesterday because of the conditions. The last couple of games, the conditions of the court were not the right ones to play the final of a grand slam. We had to stop.

"The ball was heavier than ever. In my opinion the conditions were much more favourable for Novak than for me. And I'm playing against the best player in the world."

Djokovic failed in his bid to complete the Grand Slam and become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles. Despite the disappointment of defeat, he believes the decision to suspend play on Sunday gave Nadal the upper hand.

"This has been a strange final with delays and conditions and two days' length of match," he said. "I'm just happy to be in this position, to be playing the final at Roland Garros.

"I will be and I am, but in this moment I am disappointed about this loss because I thought I started to play better in the third set and felt like I could take this match to a fifth set, and then everything could be possible.

"But unfortunately there was a rain delay yesterday when I started to feel really good on the court. But I don't want to find an excuse in that, because the first rain delay maybe helped me a little bit, the second helped him. So that's the way it goes, and the better player won today."

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