Nadal on cloud nine after soaring to new heights

Sun Jun 8, 2014 6:04pm EDT
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By Pritha and Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - One man's despair was another man's ecstasy as the most inopportune of double faults propelled a world-beating Rafa Nadal into a nine-times French Open champion on Sunday.

Waiting to launch into a second serve on match point down, a yell from the stands, followed by another, left a distracted Novak Djokovic to fire down the most costly of double faults and see his hopes of completing a career grand slam pounded into the red dust.

While Djokovic was left utterly dejected and with a strange sense of deja vu, having also surrendered the 2012 final with a double fault, he could only watch on in wonder as Nadal sunk to his knees in triumph following a 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 victory.

"In matches like this every moment is crucial. Playing against Novak is always a big challenge as I had lost against him the last four times," Nadal told the crowd before being handed over the trophy by Swedish great Bjorn Borg.

"For me it's amazing and emotional, I lost the final at Australia this year where I had a problem with my back and that was a hard moment. Today tennis gave back to me what happened in Australia."

Overcome with the emotion of cradling the Musketeers' Cup for a record-extending ninth time, the world number one burst into tears.

His win was also accompanied by a deluge of eye-watering statistics.

He became the first man to win five successive Roland Garros titles.   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain bites the trophy as he poses during the ceremony after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles final match to win the French Open Tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 8, 2014.                   REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier