Qualifying begins: 20 June
The Draw: 24 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 25 & 26 June
Order of Play: 26 June
Championships begin: 27 June
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Rafael Nadal isn’t a man who likes to brag, particularly about himself.
But after beating Stan Wawrinka, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 at Roland Garros for an Open era record tenth French Open title, the Spaniard concluded: “It’s been a perfect Roland Garros for me.”
“Have been magical all the things that happened in this tournament for me,” Nadal said, when asked to put his historic “La Decima” in perspective.
Nadal’s victory moved him one clear of Pete Sampras with 15 Grand Slam singles championships. Written off by many in 2015, when he was dethroned by Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the quarter-final, Nadal was bitterly disappointed last year, when a wrist injury forced him to withdraw from the French Open after two rounds.
“Today was a very important day for me,” Nadal said after winning his first Grand Slam title since 2014 Roland Garros without losing a set. “Have been some tough moments last times, injuries, so it's great to have big success like this again,” added the left-handed Spaniard, who has only lost at Roland Garros twice.
“We will never see that again,” said Carlos Moya, Nadal’s new head coach from 2018 when his long-time coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, retires. “It’s time for us to enjoy the moment.”
Toni Nadal, who presented his nephew with a replica of the Coupe des Mousquetaires during the trophy ceremony, was at a loss for words and held back tears in the players’ lounge, when asked what it meant to see his nephew win his tenth French Open title.
Winning a Grand Slam title once is tough, let alone winning the same title an astonishing ten times. The only player to have won more titles at the same Grand Slam event was Australia’s Margaret Court, who won the Australian Open on eleven occasions between 1960 and 1973.
Nadal’s achievement is all the greater because he’s done it at the French Open, arguably the most physical of all four Grand Slam tournaments because of the slow red clay.
Toni Nadal, who started coaching Rafael when he was just four years old on the Spanish island of Mallorca, told reporters during the first week of Roland Garros that he had once told his nephew that even great players, such as Juan Carlos Ferrero and his mentor Moya, had ended their careers having won only one Grand Slam event.
“At the end, they didn’t win more,” said Toni Nadal. “That’s what I told Rafael. It’s difficult to improve when you are completely satisfied with what you have achieved. We have to try to improve and be better every year, and even sometimes that’s not enough.”
Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, said Nadal has never played better tennis in his long career.
“These two weeks have been a great level of tennis,” said Nadal, who will move into the No 2 spot in the rankings behind Andy Murray. “But I already won two Roland Garros, too, without losing a set before this one, no? 2008, 2010, I didn't lose a set. Probably I was playing good, too, no?"
Still, Nadal won the 2017 French Open having dropped just 35 games. That’s his best since 2008 – the year he won both Queen’s and Wimbledon.
Since he was a runner-up to Djokovic in the 2011 Wimbledon final, the lawns at the All England Club haven’t been kind to the two-time champion, who hasn’t gone beyond the last sixteen since then.
Much will depend on his knees in the three weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
“I love grass, everybody knows, and it's a surface that I really enjoyed a lot playing there,” said Nadal, who will prepare for Wimbledon by playing at The Queen’s Club in west London from June 19. “And I miss play with Wimbledon again. So I hope that my knees hold well and I can have the preparation that I really need and the preparation that I wanted.”
“If I have pain on the knees, then I know from experience that it's almost impossible. Because I need to feel strong, low, and powerful legs to play well in Wimbledon. If I don't feel that, then probably my chances are not there. But if I am healthy and I am able to have the right preparation and feel healthy during the Wimbledon, then probably going to have my chances to play well.”
Ultimately, though, this is a triumph that the Nadal of years previous could never have predicted.
"In 2005, I thought in 2017 I'd be fishing on my boat in Mallorca."