Tennis: Rafael Nadal wins 13th French Open to claim record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title

Spaniard Rafael Nadal inflicted one of the most humiliating defeats on great rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open final on Sunday, thrashing the world number one to lift a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam men's singles title.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the French Open final against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, on Oct 11, 2020.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the French Open final against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, on Oct 11, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS, AFP) - Spain's Rafael Nadal demolished world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the French Open final to claim a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title on Sunday (Oct 11).

With his record-improving 13th triumph at Roland Garros, world number two Nadal is now tied with Swiss Roger Federer as the player with the most men's singles major titles.

Nadal was the early aggressor as he choked Djokovic to win the opening set in brutal fashion having made only two unforced errors.

He then kept a firm grip on a subdued Djokovic in the second set under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic, who was looking to win his 18th Grand Slam title, rebelled in the third set, breaking back for 3-3, only to drop serve on a double fault in the 11th game before Nadal went on to bag his 100th victory at Roland Garros with an ace.

"First of all, of course congrats to Novak for another great tournament, sorry for today," Nadal, who has now beaten Djokovic in all of their three French Open finals, said on court.

"In Australia (in the 2019 final), he killed me. We've played so many times, one day one wins, another day the other wins."

Djokovic had won five Grand Slam finals in a row since being beaten by Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 Australian Open, but Nadal was not upset on his turf despite a new stadium design, the roof and the lack of spectators amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The 34-year-old Nadal would not think of matching Federer's mark.

"To win here means everything. I don't think today about the 20th and equal Roger on this great number, today is just a Roland Garros victory and that means everything to me," the world number two said.

"This love story I have with this city and this court is unforgettable."

Meanwhile Roger Federer saw Nadal equal his all-time record of 20 Grand Slam titles with a 13th French Open victory on Sunday and hailed it as “one of sport’s greatest achievements”.

“I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and a champion,” tweeted Federer, who sat out the tournament to recover from knee surgery.

“As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players.

“Therefore it is a true honour for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory.

“It is especially amazing that he has won Roland Garros an incredible 13 times which is one of the greatest achievements in sport.

“I hope the 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us.”