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PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a forehand during the men's singles final against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland on day fifteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 11, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Rafa Nadal Calls 10th French Open Win ‘Special,’ Praises Coaching Staff

Rafael Nadal defeated Stan Wawrinka on Sunday to claim his tenth Roland Garros title and 15th grand slam trophy, and after lauding his coaches, the Spaniard called the victory “special.”

Rafa Nadal beats Stan Wawrinka for 10th Roland Garros, 15th Grand Slam Title

The 31-year-old Nadal — the French Open’s fourth seed — downed his Swiss opponent 6-2 6-3 6-1 in Paris to snap a three-year grand slam drought. Wawrinka, the tournament’s third seed, won the 2016 U.S. Open.


“It’s something very, very special and unique. A very emotional moment,” said Nadal, who prior to Sunday had last won a grand slam trophy at Roland Garros in 2014.  “I’ve had some tough moments with injuries, but that’s part of my career, too. It makes things a little bit more difficult but when you win after all these things, it’s more special.

“I’ve always loved what I’m doing. I’ve always been working hard to do the things I really like.”


In his post-match press conference, Nadal also praised his coaching team, which includes his 56-year-old uncle Toni and 40-year-old former World number one countryman Carlos Moya.

When asked what the victory meant to him given that it was his first grand slam with Moya by his side and his last French Open with Toni in his box, Nadal said: “It’s true that the support of Carlos has been so important for me. We have been working great and the team spirit has been very positive since the beginning.

“Great combination with Francis [Roig], Toni and Carlos and physical… with everybody, all of the team” Nadal added. “We have been working in a very good atmosphere and that really helps.”

The Spaniard emphasized that the moment was also very special for Toni, who has coached Nadal since childhood. Toni changed his nephew from a naturally right-handed player to a lefty star.

Nadal’s uncle will retire from his job as Tour coach at the end of 2017 to run his nephew’s academy in Mallorca, Spain. Moya, the 1998 Roland Garros champion who joined Nadal’s crew in December, will now replace Toni as head coach.

Moya has thus far seen Nadal lose to Roger Federer in this year’s Australian Open final (in five sets), and now recapture his Roland Garros trophy.


“Every match in this tournament has been better than the one before, so I think it’s been a perfect tournament for us,” said Moya.

Federer decided to sit out the 2017 French Open, a clay-court tournament, in order to focus on hard-court and grass play after recovering from injury late last year.

Nadal won his first Roland Garros in 2005 at the age of 19. Following his victory on Sunday, several notable tennis legends including Billie Jean King congratulated him on social media:

Nadal lost only 35 games in seven matches at Roland Garros. He is once again within three Grand Slam titles of Federer. On Sunday, he won 60 percent of his points in under four strokes, 72 percent of his first-serve points and 74 percent of his second-serve points.

Roland Garros doubles finalist Fabrice Santoro praised Nadal for his challenging playing style.

“You have someone over the other side of the net who is so strong physically, who hits the ball that hard, and plays every single point like a match point,” the 44-year-old retired Frenchman said. “We are not talking about winning a match, set or a game. Winning one point is difficult.”

Three-time French Open champion Mats Wilander also expressed amazement at the Spaniard’s playing prowess, and compared Nadal to another legendary athlete.

Mike Tyson had a game-plan until he got punched in the mouth and that’s what happens when you play Nadal. You get out there and realize ‘hold on a second, I don’t even know how to win points, let alone sets’.

“Four games he dropped at most – in any match and any set. That’s incredible.”

The 52-year-old former World number one Swede continued:

“There are so many improvements to his game that he’s a better player now than he was when he won Wimbledon two times before.”

Nadal is the third male player to win a grand slam in his teens, 20s and 30s after Ken Rosewall and Pete Sampras. The Spaniard’s ten titles and 79-2 match record beat Swedish former World number one Bjorn Borg’s resume, which boasts six trophies and a 49-2 record.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 11: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a forehand during the men’s singles final against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland on day fifteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 11, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.

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