Rafael Nadal defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets on Sunday to win his 14th French Open and record-breaking 22nd Grand Slam championship, becoming the oldest male champion at Roland Garros.
In a sad final, 36-year-old Rafael Nadal triumphed 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, 17 years after winning his maiden French Open at age 19 in 2005.
Against all odds, Nadal won the last 11 games of the final and is now two Grand Slams ahead of longtime rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after Sunday's victory.
Nadal, the oldest champion in Paris since Andre Gimeno's 34-year-old victory in 1972, was uncertain of participating due to a severe left foot problem that troubled him throughout his career.
In the previous three rounds, he required more than 12 hours to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime, Novak Djokovic, and Alexander Zverev.
In two hours and eighteen minutes, his victory on Sunday improved his tournament record to 112 wins against just three losses and moved him halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, a feat last accomplished by Rod Laver in 1969.
Nadal, unbeaten in 13 previous finals in Paris and competing in his 30th Grand Slam title match, got off to a strong start against Ruud, the first Norwegian to compete in a major championship match.
Even though he immediately surrendered the break due to two uncharacteristic double faults, he promptly regained the advantage for a 3-1 lead.
In 49 minutes, the Spaniard scored against a 23-year-old opponent trained at his Manacor academy since 2018.
In the second set's opening game, world number eight Ruud, the in-form player on clay since the start of 2020 with 66 wins on the surface, had to fend off three break points.
Suddenly, there was a ray of optimism as he broke for 3-1 after Nadal committed another double fault. However, Nadal responded with a double break for a score of 4-3.
In the ninth game, Ruud survived three-set chances, but his first double fault of the match gave Nadal a two-set advantage.
On the eve of the final, Nadal stated that he would rather lose the tournament on Sunday in exchange for a new foot.
However, he was in perfect command of the match against Ruud, cruising to victory with three breaks in a third set that lasted only 30 minutes.
Nadal secured the victory with his 37th ace of the final, a backhand down the line.
Fight to keep going
Rafael Nadal vowed he would "fight to keep going" after winning his 14th French Open title on Sunday despite his injuries.
The Grand Slam winner has a chronic ailment with his left foot and stated earlier this week that he did not know how long he could go and that every Roland Garros match could be his last.
On the eve of the championship, he stated that he would prefer to lose in exchange for a new foot.
After defeating Ruud, Nadal stated, "I don't know what can happen in the future, but I'm going to keep fighting to try to keep going," "It is wonderful for me to perform here. It's an amazing sensation."
The defending champion of Spain stated that he would compete at Wimbledon later this month if his health permitted.
"If my body is prepared for Wimbledon, I will be there. Wimbledon is a competition I do not wish to miss "said Nadal.