Day 15 Diary: Royals, legends turn up for Rafa's moment

 - Alex Sharp

The final day of Roland-Garros 2022 was packed with champions being crowned and A-list sightings

Rafael Nadal, King Felipe VI of Spain© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Royals and tennis legends joined the party alongside some box office names for a fitting finale of Roland-Garros 2022.

Spain's King Felipe VI and Norway's Crown Prince Haakon sat side-by-side for the main event as Rafael Nadal swept aside Casper Ruud for his 14th Roland-Garros title in the men's singles final.

Billie Jean King awarded the trophies to the finalists, while numerous former champions were in the stands, including the ever-popular Guga Kuerten.

Hollywood stars made sure not to miss Nadal's big moment with the likes of Michael Douglas, Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller all present for the occasion.

King of Spain, Prince of Norway, Roland Garros 2022, final© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
Oli Green, Sienna Miller, Hugh Grant, Rafael Nadal, Roland-Garros 2022, Simple Messieurs, Finale, Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Tributes pour in

On court Nadal said he never believed he'd be here at 36. Well, neither can we.

The Spaniard's astonishing longevity to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires for a record-extending 14th time - his men's all-time record 22nd Grand Slam title - had familiar faces from far and wide congratulating him on social media.

Any Vink is possible

World No.1 quad wheelchair superstar Niels Vink’s “dreams came true” with a first Grand Slam singles title.

The 19-year-old returned to the court on Sunday leading his countryman Sam Schroder by a set after rain halted play on Saturday night with the match finely poised.

Vink was 0-2 down in the second-set tiebreak, but returned to Court 14 with some sizzling shots to eventually convert his eighth match point 6-4, 7-6(8).

“I have achieved a lot of my dreams. I had one dream that I haven't completed, and that was winning a Grand Slam. Now I have one, I’m so happy,” said the Dutch teenager.

Dylan Alcott, a Paralympic gold medallist and 23-time Grand Slam winner across both disciplines, retired after the Australian Open, leaving a spot for the next leader of the quad division.

“I played final against him at the US Open last year, and I lost. Me and Dylan are good friends,” stated Vink, who also won the doubles with Schroder on Friday.

“Yeah, if I could sign for his career, I would definitely do it.”

Back when he was a kid, Vink would tune in to watch all the action on TV and was always curious of the terre battue’s tone.

“I didn't know it was Roland-Garros. I just thought it was a tournament on the orange stuff. I really liked it,” said the teenager.

“It is my first time here. Last year I didn't play. I have played three Slams now, I was hoping to win one earlier. But, it's really nice to win my first time here on my favourite surface, which is clay."

Niels Vink, finale, double, quad, Roland-Garros 2022©Clément Mahoudeau / FFT

Brit's major brilliance

The very best rise to the occasion on the grandest of stages.

Take wheelchair duo Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid. The Brits inched past the singles finalists Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda 7-6(5), 7-6(5) to remain undefeated in Grand Slam play since Wimbledon 2019. That's 10 Grand Slam doubles titles in a row!

"I think it's obviously a record that we are really proud of. Just shows our level of consistency that is difficult to achieve in any sport," reflected Reid.

"At the end of the day it's just another Grand Slam title that we are trying to fight to win. Whether it's the 10th or whatever number, we still enjoy it, still appreciate it. Obviously we are not stopping here. We are going for more."

Dutch doubles delight

Diede de Groot added to her singles silverware alongside Aniek van Koot with a dramatic 7-6(5), 1-6, 10-8 scoreline facing second seeds Yui Kamiji and Kgothatso Montjane.

The Dutch duo made it five in a row in the women's doubles in Paris, but for Van Koot, Sunday's triumph represented her eighth doubles title here. The 31-year-old first won the doubles trophy at Roland-Garros in 2010 and has witnessed monumental changes in the sport.

"Wheelchair tennis in general has really evolved. We get more attention from the Grand Slams obviously, but also the level of tennis is so much higher. Of course I have been playing tennis for a long time, but our current No.1 Diede, her level is much higher than, for example, than 20 years ago," declared the two-time Paralympic gold medallist.

"I think the top players make each other better, it's getting more professional."

Van Koot was also keen to hail her compatriot Vink's achievements in the quad category.

"I always call him Little Puppy, because little puppies chase the tennis ball wherever they go. He is so keen on playing, and I think it's a delight to see him in the footsteps of Dylan Alcott. He's a great player," she added.

Kgothatso Montjane, Yui Kamiji, Aniek Van Koot, Diede De Groot, Roland-Garros 2022, Tennis Fauteuil Double Dames, Remise de Prix, Amelie Laurin / FFT

Picture perfect in Paris

World No.1 Iga Swiatek took in some sights before making sure she caught her idol Nadal triumph once again.

The Pole took the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen for an iconic snap with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

"Moments of appreciation in Paris," tweeted the 21-year-old. We all appreciated your fortnight in Paris too, Iga.

Stat of the day

Shot of the day