Nadal - The King of Clay- Wins 11th French Open Title

Nadal - The King of Clay- Wins 11th French Open Title

But if you think it's going to be a simple Sunday stroll for Nadal to get this 11th French Open title, consider that his opponent is a fitting foe on the final stage.

"The fact that I could be No 1 in the world previous year gave me confidence and gave me, like, a little bit of relief, because I touched something, something big, something huge", Halep said, "and I just had in my mind to win a Grand Slam after that".

Nadal will be a big loss to the tournament if he opts to stay away, although fans will be able to see Federer in action again.

A few hours earlier, as Nadal and Thiem warmed up, the booming voice of the announcer at Court Philippe Chatrier detailed the bona fides of both.

Not that 17-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, whose latest feat is all the more remarkable considering he was sidelined for several weeks this year due to injury, is preoccupied with trying to keep up with his Swiss rival. Court claimed the last of her 11 at the Australian Open in 1973.

Elsewhere, Thiem and Alexander Zverev enjoyed strong French Open campaigns and will hope to carry that momentum to Wimbledon.

The Austrian is one of just three players to down Nadal on clay at least three times. In the other semi-final, Marco Cecchinato's odd run in the last two weeks was ended by Dominic Thiem, also in straight sets, although the first two sets were somewhat closer than anything Del Potro could muster.

Though Thiem may be the apparent heir to Nadal's King of Clay throne, the Spaniard picked up Slam No. 17 and improved to an 86-2 lifetime record at Roland Garros.

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Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - the so-called Big Four - have dominated the men's game to such a degree that Thiem is only the second player now younger than 28 to have reached a major singles final. But from 4-all in the opening set, Nadal grabbed five games in a row and was in charge. It was his best performance of the fortnight, as Nadal confirmed on court, just when he needed it most.

"And the fact that I didn't give up after the one past year here [in which she lost in three sets to Jelena Ostapenko] means that I'm strong inside and I do this just because I love this sport".

But against Thiem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's start.

The victory also allowed Nadal, 32, to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, ahead of Federer. The 24-year-old was beaten by Halep in the semi-finals of the French Open. Nadal cruised to a 3-0 lead in the second set and didn't look back. He dropped serve on a fifth break chance.

Thiem began to play better as the set went on, and it was only one break, but he could never earn it back, and Nadal won the second set 6-3.

His lone opportunity of the set indeed vanished. He removed the tape from his left wrist - the Mallorcan suffered a wrist injury that ruled him out in the first week of the 2016 edition - and the trainer came out again at 3-2.

While unpopular, Nadal's comments have resulted in more of a rekindling of an old debate rather than sparking a new one.

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