Qualifying begins: 20 June
The Draw: 24 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 25 & 26 June
Order of Play: 26 June
Championships begin: 27 June
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 20 JUNE
Like a vintage French wine, Rafael Nadal just keeps getting better with age.
The Spaniard, who turned 31 two weeks ago, dominated 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka from start to finish to clinch “La Decima,” 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 at Roland Garros in Paris.
A showdown between player who had never before lost a French Open final and a player who had never lost a Grand Slam final quickly turned into a breathtaking display of clay court tennis that has rarely been seen before.
“It’s incredible, I am very emotional,” Nadal told the crowd on the Court Philippe Chatrier in French after he won an Open era record 10th French Open title.
Tournament organisers had rolled out a banner with the words “Bravo Rafa” and showed a video of all his ten victories on the big screen inside the stadium during the trophy ceremony.
“The feeling that I have here is impossible to describe for me, the nerves and the adrenaline that I feel in this court,” said Nadal, whose 15th Grand Slam title moved him one ahead of Pete Sampras.
“There was no one on the planet that could have beaten Rafael Nadal today,” said tennis strategy analyst Craig O’Shannessy shortly after the final. “Wawrinka was never allowed to play his game.”
Nadal’s performance also stunned his new coach, former French Open champion Carlos Moya.
“I didn’t expect this score,” Moya said in the players’ lounge shortly after the match.
Moya, a long-time mentor of Nadal, joined his coaching setup this season and will take over as head coach when long-time coach and uncle Toni Nadal retires at the end of this year.
“It was not his best match of the week,” said Moya about Wawrinka, adding that his four-and-a-half hour battle with Andy Murray in the semi-final “probably didn’t help him.”
“I’m not the first and not the last to lose to him on clay,” Wawrinka said, who produced 19 winners and had 29 unforced errors. Nadal had 27 winners, including 14 forehand winners and made 12 mistakes.
He’s the best clay court player ever.”
After last year’s deluges, the 2017 French Open had a completely different feel from the start. Yes, there was the odd rain delay but mostly the sun was out, turning springtime Paris into a magical place.
From the first ball to the last, the 116th edition of the French Open provided high drama and emotion.
After winning his tenth title, Nadal cried into his towel for minutes, before being handed a replica of the Coupe des Mousquetaires by his uncle Toni.
Although a new star was born in the form of 20-year-old Jelena Ostapenko, who became the first unseeded player to win the Roland Garros title in the Open era after stunning pre-tournament favourite Simona Halep in three sets, the men’s final took place between two established stars.
It was also the first between two players over the age of 30 since 1969.
On another sweltering day in Paris, both men held serve until the sixth game of the first set, when Nadal moved a few steps closer to the baseline to take the ball early.
With Wawrinka serving at 2-3, Nadal went on the attack, cracking a running forehand at 0-15 that was met with a roar of approval from the crow. After breaking Wawrinka’s serve on an error, Nadal went on a tear as he took six more games.
Wawrinka managed to stop the run when he finally held as he trailed 3-0 in the second set. Although he tried to change his tactics, throwing in some drop shots, Nadal always had the answer as he simply stifled him from the back of the court with heavy top-spin shots that kicked up high in the hot Parisian air.
The scale of Wawrinka's task was highlighted by a moment of astonishing brilliance from his opponent at 4-1 in the second set. Serving at 40-15, the Swiss constructed the point well, and placed a near-perfect Wawrinka deep into the corner, only to see Nadal slap an unstoppable forehand past him.
Wawrinka could only stop and applaud, but his frustrations were understandably growing, and he cracked his racket when he handed Nadal two set points on an error, with the Spaniard converting the first one with a big serve.
Trailing 3-1 in the third set, Wawrinka raised his arms asking for support after passing Nadal with a neat shot at the net. The crowd cheered but it proved to be a consolation. On the next point, Wawrinka missed a smash and was then broken for the second time in the set as he sent a forehand long.
With Wawrinka serving to stay in the championship at 5-1 down, Nadal set up two match points with another breathtaking, running forehand. He converted the first one when Wawrinka’s attempt at a slice volley ended up in the net.
“There is always one ball coming back,” said Wawrinka, who had beaten Nadal in the final of the 2014 Australian Open.
“There is always spin on the ball. There is always a different bounce that's what the other player make on that surface. He create a doubt that you cannot have if you want to beat him. And on clay especially, because the way he's moving, it's even more difficult.”