Clay doesn't care about reputation. Except if you are Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal proved once again just why he is the King of Clay by beating third seed Stanislav Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1 in the final of Roland Garros at the Philippe-Chatrier on Sunday.

CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP

Rafa hardly broke a sweat on his way to his 10th French Open crown as he brushed aside Wawrinka in a thoroughly one-sided final. His ten French Open trophies now easily eclipse the legendary Bjorn Borg’s haul of six French Open titles, which not so long ago seemed impossible to better.

As far as overall grand slam titles go, Nadal is second only to his greatest rival Roger Ferderer, who boasts 18 Grand Slam trophies, three more than the Spaniard’s 15. Sunday’s triumph was, however, even more crucial to the 31-year-old’s career since it’s his first grand slam in three years as well as the first since his return from a career-threatening injury.

"I have doubts every day but that's good as it makes me work hard with more intensity. You have to be humble and accept that you have to work to improve things. I have doubts today, I had doubts in the last three years, I will have doubts in a few days. Life is never clear. If you have no doubts, then you are very arrogant. I am not an arrogant person," Nadal said after the match.

His last grand slam title was also at the French Open in 2014 before injuries kept him on the sidelines for an extended period of time. Nadal’s best performance in Slams post-2014 and with the exception of the Australian Open – where he finished runners-up – earlier this year, were two quarter-final appearances as he plummeted down the rankings.

The Spaniard’s runners-up finish in this year’s Australian Open though should have served as a warning to the rest of his competition. If it didn’t then the fact that he has dominated the clay court season with titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, surely should have.

For this is a man whose record at Roland Garros stands at an astounding 79 wins and two losses. His victory this year saw him breeze through the competition without even dropping a single set for the third time in his French Open career.

In fact, he lost just 35 games in total while collecting his ‘La Decima’ of Roland Garros titles, making him second only to Borg's record of 32 games dropped during the Swede's 1978 win. “To win 10 Roland Garros titles is magical, I had tough times last year so it's great to have big success again," said Nadal.

AFP

The French Tennis Federation chief Bernard Giudicelli had already announced that a Nadal statue was to be erected in his honour before the start of this year’s French Open. “He will have a statue at the Roland Garros, you cannot do anything but immortalize him,” Guidicelli said.

Having already been handed a special French Open replica at the presentation ceremony to chart all his victories in the tournament, Nadal can look forward to returning to his favourite grand slam next year and seeing a life-size replica of himself in front of the Roland Garros, giving company to the statues in honour of Suzanne Lenglen and the four Musketeers, which are already present there.

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