Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal have been crowned this years French Open Champions as the tournament came to a close yesterday at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris.
Sharapova, 27 defeated Simona Halep on Saturday afternoon at the Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros in a dramatic final to win her second French Open title 6-4, 6-7 (5-7,) 6-4 in just over three hours. This has increased her Grand Slam titles to five and takes her to joint-eleventh on the Open era list alongside Martina Hingis.
Speaking to the BBC Sharapova said, “This is the toughest Grand Slam final I have ever played and all respect to Simona, she played an unbelievable match today.”
Halep played in her first Grand Slam final and forced the match to three sets.
Romanian Halep, 22 was playing in her first Grand Slam final but that did not deter her from pushing the experienced Sharapova to a third set in the Russians ninth major final to date. Sharapova won Wimbledon aged just seventeen and within four years had added both the US Open and Australian Open Grand Slam titles to her name.
Novak Djokovic, 27 was looking for his first French Open title this year but it was not to be as Nadal, 28 cruised to his 9th victory after a shaky start where he lost the first set. He won his fifth consecutive title in Paris in very hot conditions 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in three and a half hours which ended on a disappointing double fault from Djokovic. Nadal has now taken his Grand Slam total to fourteen and this latest victory also cements his place as World Number One, ahead of Djokovic at number two. Six-time French Open Champion and tennis legend Bjorn Borg presented Nadal with the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy this year for the ninth time .
Nadal receives his trophy from the silver fox Bjorn Borg
As reported on BBC Sport Nadal said, “In matches like this every moment is crucial. Playing against Novak is always a big challenge, I had lost against him the last four times,” he continued “I feel sorry for him today, he deserves to win this tournament.”
It’s the third year in a row that Nadal has prevented Djokovic adding the elusive French Open title to his Grand Slam haul. Dkokovic commented, “Congratulations to Rafa and his team, it is incredible to win this tournament nine times,” he added “It was an emotional day. I have tried with all my power, my strength, my capacities but Rafa was the strongest on court.”
Nadal with this years French Open trophy (above) and through the ages (below)
All photos courtesy of BBC Sport (www.bbc.com/sport/0/tennis/) unless otherwise stated