"I have been able to be very close to win another title there", Nadal, who was edged out by Novak Djokovic in an epic semi-final previous year, told reporters in Paris. On Sunday, though, as Nadal once more took a bite out of the Coupe des Mousquetaires, it was as if his 12th title in Paris was never in doubt.
"So I'm on the right way".
"It's not what makes me get up every morning or go and train and play". "Then he played a good game, I played a bad game in the 6-5, and that's it", Nadal pointed out. "Was not enough at the end, but I went very far". In the 12 finals, he has only lost seven sets. "But you want to see the passing of the torch while they are still in their prime", added Becker, who won Wimbledon at the age of 17.
"That's why Rafa has won here 12 times, because he raises his level when he needs to".
"If you ask all men in professional tennis, I mean, nearly everybody will tell you that he's one of the best volleyers of our game". But Rafa, maybe angered by losing the lead, upped his play taking the last four games of a 54 minute first set.
Three-time French Open victor Mats Wilander felt Thiem lost his way after winning the second set.
While chiefly motivated by his rivalries with Nadal and Djokovic, Federer says his enthusiasm to keep evolving as a player comes from watching the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev and the new challenges they bring.
Revealing he would be skipping all other grass court events to give himself the best possible chance of staying fit ahead of the event, which starts on July 1, he said: "I know I played a great event previous year". I feel sorry, he deserves it. "I was so far off the ball and couldn't play it any different way".
"I am not able to play so many weeks in a row like I did 10 years ago, eight years ago".
Where once Wimbledon was the domain of the big servers and the big hitters, the grass these days is a little slower, allowing players more chance on returns.
"I want to follow my own journey, give myself the best opportunities, and give myself the possibility of competing at the highest level". He has now won his last 23 matches at Roland Garros and overall is 117-2 in best-of-5 set matches on his favorite surface.
However with a dominant performance on Sunday, it looks Nadal who is now ranked number 2 in the world will continue to play for quite a few years more, provided he can stay injury free.
Looking only at grand slams won - more later on why that is not the only criterion for assessing greatest of all time (GOAT) credentials - Federer has held at least a three-slam lead over his great rival since July 2004.
"When you're playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it's hard to perform your best", said an angry Djokovic.
"I never tried to think about, well, am I gonna catch Roger or not", Nadal said.
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