King of Clay: Nadal returns Monday, tops Djokovic for record seventh French Open title

Rafael Nadal of Spaingestures after an argument with the umpire in the mens final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 11, 2012. Rain suspended the final making it the first French Open not to end on Sunday since 1973. Nadal won in four sets 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, passing Bjorn Borg as the all-time record-holder for French Open titles. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

PARIS - Rain or shine, clay or mud, Sunday or Monday, Rafael Nadal rules Roland Garros.

The man they call "Rafa" won his record seventh French Open title on Monday, returning a day after getting rained out to put the finishing touches on a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic, and deny Djokovic in his own quest for history — the "Novak Slam."

The match ended on a Djokovic double-fault, a fittingly awkward ending to a match that had plenty of stops and starts, including a brief delay during the fourth set Monday while — what else? — a rain shower passed over the stadium.

They waited it out and Nadal finished where he has for seven of the past eight years: Down on the ground, celebrating a title at a place that feels like home. He broke the record he shared with Bjorn Borg and improved to 52-1 at the French Open.

After serving his fourth double fault of the match, Djokovic dropped his head and slumped his shoulders, an emotional two-day adventure complete, and not with the result he wanted.

He was trying to become the first man in 43 years to win four straight major titles. He came up short and joined Roger Federer, who twice came up one match short of four in a row — his quest also halted by Nadal at Roland Garros in 2006 and 2007.

Nadal won his 11th overall Grand Slam title, tying him with Borg and Rod Laver on the all-time list.


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