Rafael Nadal unsure if he will defend French Open title in 2019


Rafael Nadal continued his dominance of the French Open with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win over Austria's Dominic Thiem to claim a record-extending 11th Roland Garros title on Sunday.

For the first time ever Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal picked up two grand slam titles each, and the thrilling Australian Open final between the two evergreen legends was a reminder of why the match-up is viewed by most observers as the greatest rivalry in tennis, and possibly even in all of sport.

Nadal's 11th title takes his grand slam tally to 17 and even at 32, despite the miles in his legs, who is going to stop him making it 12 in a year's time?

Nadal has never lost a best-of-five match on clay after winning the first set, and Thiem was unable to change that equation. Nadal had another massage at 5-2 and he ended Thiem's ordeal on his fifth match point when the Austrian returned long.

Nadal saluted his 24-year-old opponent, who is the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay over the past two seasons. He played a great two weeks.

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After being asked about the road ahead, which obviously involves the grass court season, Nadal said, "Difficult for me to think about it now".

Halep, Caroline Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza remained the WTA's top three, but French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens went from No 10 to a career-high No 4.

Won the French Open on debut in 2005 and a year later beat Roger Federer in the final.

He was serving in the fourth game when he went back to his chair and unwrapped strapping on his left wrist.

Nadal, who led 6-3 in previous head-to-heads, broke Thiem's service in the second game, before the Austrian had his own response to move level at 2-all through a break.

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A few hours earlier, as Nadal and Thiem warmed up, the booming voice of the announcer at Court Philippe Chatrier detailed the bona fides of both. Lifting his 11th crown in Paris, Nadal retained his world number one crown.

Nadal won seven straight points in the first set itself which was probably enough for Thiem to comprehend about the treatent he would get from the King of Clay at his favoured ground. "I am sure you'll win here in the next couple of years".

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-seed Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

The first set had taken 57 minutes, in stiflingly humid conditions, but there was to be no let-up for the underdog in the second. The world No. 8, too, was the last man to overcome Nadal on clay, last month in Madrid.

Veteran pair Nadal and Federer have won the past six Grand Slams as their younger rivals struggle to dislodge them at the pinnacle of the game. He bagged the second set when Thiem sent a backhand long.

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Only Nadal, Pete Sampras and Ken Rosewall have managed the feat of winning Grand Slam titles in their teens, 20s and 30s.