Nadal: "is a love story with this event”

 - Alex Sharp

World No.1 tastes success once again in Paris with an incredible 11th Roland-Garros trophy.

“Since the first time that I came here until today is a love story with this event.”

Rafael Nadal seemingly never-ending Parisian love story turned another page as the world No.1 shed tears, lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires for his unprecedented ‘La Undecima.’

“It's something that is really unique, something that you can't dream of, winning 11 times the same tournament.”

The ‘King of Clay’ once again returned to his throne, clinching the crown with the loss of just a single set en route to final, where he comfortably dispatched Dominic Thiem.

“What really matters for me is have this trophy again with me. That means a lot. As everybody knows, for me this is the most important tournament of the year. Roland-Garros is always on the calendar and a special date,” declared the now 17-time Grand Slam champion. “So winning here after having the clay-court season that I had is emotional and that gives me calm and confidence to keep going.”

The 32-year-old is determined to defy his age, to strive for more silverware with his renowned, relentless work ethic.

“For me it's difficult to explain because it becomes a little bit natural. Yes, is true that in my career, I achieved much more than what I ever dreamed. But on the other hand, it's true that I went through tough moments, a lot of times in terms of injuries,” explained the Spaniard, having spent several months on the sidelines earlier in 2018 prior to his exemplary clay-court campaign.

“So I arrived so-so, with some doubts with this clay-court season. Personally for me is amazing. I'm very emotional, coming back from this almost five months without playing a full tournament since Shanghai last year,” added the world No.1, completing his clay season with an astonishing 26-1 record. “So coming back and having the chance to win in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, and now especially here it's very emotional for me.”

Nadal is eager to enjoy his latest record-breaking triumph on his cherished Court Philippe-Chatrier, but fired a signal of intent to the rest of the chasing pack - he's not going anywhere.  

“For me if you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here, 32-years-old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something almost impossible, but here we are,” he said. “I am enjoying the moment. I have a lot of other things that makes me happy, and so I am not much worried about the future, no? I gonna keep playing until my body resists, and my happiness still high playing tennis. When that changes, it will be time to do another thing.”

The Spaniard’s dominance to rule Roland-Garros once again inched Nadal to just three Majors behind perennial rival Roger Federer’s current haul of 20 Grand Slams, but that is far from his mind… for now.

“Let me enjoy this title,” quipped the world No.1 “I can't be always thinking of more. Of course, I have ambition. I have passion for what I am doing. You can't be frustrated always if somebody have more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more Grand Slams than you. You can't live with that feeling. You have to do your way.

“I am very satisfied, and I feel very lucky with all the things that happened it me. Of course I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more, but being honest, it is not on my mind. What is in my mind now is I won a very important title for me. I add one more Grand Slam. Seventeen is an amazing number. I’m just going to keep fighting and that’s it.”

Rafa’s fight has already reaped 11 titles at Roland-Garros. And the tennis world could very well witness him repeating the feat in 2019.