Special number 10 means so much to Nadal

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12 June, 2017

The strategy paid off as he reduced the tally, but Nadal charged on by taking his service to win the fifth game.

Telling Words: "I played at the maximum of my power, my strength, and my capability, but Rafa was the best player".

Nadal failed to convert any of the four break points he had in the following game, but drew first blood the next time an opportunity arose to take a 4-2 lead.

Here's a look at some stats that show why Nadal is such an invincible figure at French Open, the tournament he clearly cherishes the most. "But I have come close before - in Australia this year and in 2012 in Australia [when he lost an epic final to Novak Djokovic]".

He lost the next two points as well to give Nadal another break and the Spaniard raced across the finish line. And it is also surely time for a new favorite number for Nadal. He beat Xavier Malisse, Richard Gasquet and David Ferrer in straight sets en route to a semi-final against world number one and career Grand Slam-chasing Roger Federer.

From there, it was all downhill for the Swiss star.

Simon Pagenaud was third, ahead of defending race champion Graham Rahal, who was coming of winning both races at Detroit last week to become the first IndyCar driver this season with multiple victories. Even though the first seed put up an admirable defence, Wawrinka broke him down with his relentless shot-making.

Defeat to Federer in the final of an ATP 1000 event in Hamburg in May seemed to suggest Nadal's love affair with Roland Garros could be set for a break.

Wawrinka's talent had never been in doubt, but coach Magnus Norman has translated that to winning Grand Slams.

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Wawrinka, the oldest French Open finalist since 1973, shouldn't exactly have been a walkover either.

It will help to have Norman in his corner in the final as well.

On the flip side, Nadal's dominance on clay could be a plus for him in the discussion.

Key Stat: Two days after turning 19, Nadal became the youngest man to win a major title since Michael Chang was 17 at the 1989 French Open.

Straw hats and fans were de rigueur for an expectant Court Philippe Chatrier as the final began with temperatures hovering around the 30 degrees Celcius mark - optimum conditions for Nadal's monstrous topspin game.

In 2005, Nadal played his first clay court match at the French open against the German Lars Burgsmuller and won that match by 6-1, 7-6, 6-1. "If you lose, it's nearly normal".

"10.10.10 you can say it as much as you want". He also reached the final there three other times. And he has been the underdog in every one of them.

"Thanks to my uncle, he's been with me since I was three years old, we've been working a lot and without him I would not have these 10 trophies with me", Nadal said at courtside after being handed the Musketeers Cup by two-time Roland Garros champion Roy Emerson.

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