PARIS • Rafael Nadal coasted to a record 10th French Open title yesterday, demolishing Stan Wawrinka in a brutally one-sided final to cement his status as the greatest clay-courter of all time.
Nadal triumphed 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 to become the first player in the Open era to win the same Major 10 times. His collection of 15 Slams stands just three behind great rival Roger Federer.
Playing in his 22nd Grand Slam final, he triumphed in Paris without dropping a set for a third time. He also lost just 35 games in total and only six in the final, his most comprehensive victory since allowing Roger Federer four games in the 2008 final.
"It's really incredible. To win La Decima (the 10th title) is very, very special," said the 31-year-old, who last won a Grand Slam three years ago when he claimed the 2014 French Open. "I am very emotional. The feeling I have is impossible to describe.
"It's difficult to compare with other tournaments but the nerves and adrenaline I feel, it's like no other place."
After Hollywood A-lister Nicole Kidman had helped unbox the Coupe des Mousquetaires to a crowd already wilting in 30 deg C heat, the final was under way.
It was also the first time since 1969 that the Roland Garros title decider had featured two men over 30. Despite having spent more than five hours on court getting to the final, Wawrinka had the first break point in the third game. But the 2015 champion could not convert it and it proved to be the only break point he earned all afternoon.
A backhand which sailed long gave Nadal the first set.
Nadal forced Wawrinka into another forehand error to break for 2-0 in the second set before the Swiss halted a run of seven games lost with a hold for 1-3.
Nadal took the set in the ninth game, just moments after Wawrinka had destroyed a racket in utter frustration.
Nadal was soon a double break to the good for 4-1 and held for 5-1. He then collapsed on his back when Wawrinka's backhand hit the net, ending the final after 2hr 5min.
"You were too good," Wawrinka told Nadal during the prize presentation after losing in a Grand Slam final for the first time in four appearances.
"You are a great example and it's always been an honour to play against you."
Nadal, whose career record at Roland Garros reads 79 wins and just two losses, was joined on the presentation by his uncle Toni, his coach since boyhood.
"We've worked a lot and without him I would not have 10 trophies," said the Mallorcan, who will rise to No. 2 in the world rankings today. "One last thing, for me playing on this court I feel the support. I love you people more than any other."