PARIS: Rafael Nadal won his 12th French Open title on Sunday when he defeated Dominic Thiem in the final for the second straight year.
AFP Sport looks at the Spaniard’s 12 triumphs in Paris:
— At just 19, Nadal became the youngest winner of a Grand Slam title since Michael Chang won at Roland Garros in 1989 at 17. He was the first man since Mats Wilander in 1982 to win the French Open on his debut. Puerta was to later fail a drugs test and handed an eight-year ban, eventually reduced to two years.
— Nadal became the first man to beat Federer in a Slam final, ending the Swiss star’s hopes of holding all four majors at the same time. It was Nadal’s 60th win in a row on clay.
— The 21-year-old Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win three successive titles at Roland Garros. He again also shattered Federer’s hopes of becoming only the third man in history to hold all four majors.
— Nadal condemned his great rival to his worst ever loss in a Grand Slam event. The Spaniard also won the title without losing a set, becoming the third man to do so in the Open era after Ilie Nastase and Borg.
— Nadal avenged his defeat to the Swede at Roland Garros 12 months earlier. Again, Nadal finished the tournament without having dropped a set. He also regained the world number one ranking for the first time since July 2009.
— Nadal claimed his sixth French Open to equal the record of Borg, also taking his Slam total into double figures at 10. Federer had ended Novak Djokovic’s 43-match undefeated run in the semi-finals.
— Nadal goes past Borg’s record of six titles and ends Djokovic’s bid to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors. Rain meant that the final was completed on Monday which was tough on Djokovic who was a break up in the fourth set when the match was halted for the night.
— Nadal comfortably beats his compatriot for an eighth French Open but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 in a 4-hour 37-minute epic.
— Title number nine in his ninth final for Nadal and his 14th Grand Slam success on an afternoon where temperatures nudged 30 degrees. It was his 45th career clay-court title.
— Nadal coasts to a record 10th French Open title, demolishing Wawrinka in a brutally one-sided final which also earns the Spaniard a 15th Grand Slam crown. Nadal, 31, becomes the first man in history to win the same major 10 times. It is his most one-sided final win since allowing Federer just four games in the 2008 final.
— Nadal moves to 17 Grand Slam titles with a straightforward victory over Austrian Thiem. Nadal endured a nervy conclusion to the final, however, when he needed treatment in the third set for a finger injury.
— Nadal overcomes dropping the second set by racing to victory over Thiem for the second successive year. The 33-year-old, seemingly angered by losing a set in the final for the first time since 2014, crushes the Austrian in the third and fourth sets to make it 12 titles and take his win-loss record at Roland Garros to a staggering 93-2.
“I can’t explain what I’ve achieved and how I feel. It’s a dream,” said Nadal. “It’s an incredible moment and very special for me.”