Can Rafael Nadal catch him in Grand Slams?

Rafael Nadal celebrates his quarter-final win

GETTYRafael Nadal is bidding to win the French Open for an 11th time

The understatement was classic Toni but there was nothing understated about Nadal himself.

"I had to be very aggressive, he's a very hard opponent", said Nadal. I can't be always thinking of more.

That's it. There is the history of the King of Clay's losses at the French Open.

When asked if he will defend the title next year, he said: "It was unbelievable to win for the 10th time, same thing for the 11th".

"He managed to do it well".

"Let me enjoy this title", Nadal said. Nadal faced just three break points, compared to 17 for Thiem, and the Spaniard won over 80 per cent of his first-serve points. I had a long and mentally tough clay court season because I played nearly all possible matches after coming from an injury. Thiem beat him on clay earlier this year in a two-set triumph in Madrid. As everybody knows, for me is the most important tournament of the year.

Written off as fading forces two years ago, Nadal, 32, and Roger Federer, approaching 37, have won the last six Grand Slam titles between them. "Tough moment in the third set when I got a little bit of cramping on the hand, I was very, very scared".

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After an intense claycourt season in which he also collected an 11th Monte Carlo and Barcelona crown and suffered only one defeat in 27 matches, Nadal will take time out for fishing in his native Mallorca before the grasscourt swing.

Spain's Rafael Nadal defeated Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the French Open on Sunday to win the season's second Grand Slam for a record 11th time.

With his 17th major title on Sunday, Nadal, 32, closed the gap on arch-rival and 20-time victor Roger Federer on the all-time list for most Grand Slam men's singles titles, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Nadal will remain at the top of the ATP rankings ahead of Roger Federer.

Nadal will have Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams in his sights, and will be hoping to challenge the Swiss at Wimbledon at the start of July. Nadal went to his chair, got treatment and returned only to double fault.

Play has since resumed and Nadal now leads 4-2 in the third set.

By Thursday normal service had resumed, the Spaniard reeling off the two points he needed to level the match, and then polishing off two more sets to crush this particular French revolution and secure his place in the semi-finals.

The number of consecutive sets won on clay by Nadal, breaking the previous record for most consecutive sets won on a single surface by McEnroe, who won 49 on carpet in 1984.

The Austrian is never one to hide his frustration, but then the sheer relentlessness of Nadal on clay would wear anyone down.

Nadal had broken Thiem's first game.

The No. 1-ranked Nadal compiled a 35-20 edge in winners while making only 19 unforced errors Friday. Djokovic's is not yet at his best after an elbow procedure; he lost in the quarterfinals in Paris to a guy who never had won a Grand Slam match before this French Open.

And sure enough, serving at 4-5, ka-boom.

When the players came back on for half an hour Nadal had rediscovered his serve and found his forehand, until at 5-3 30-15 the heavens opened again.

Maybe nerves were a factor in Thiem's performance.

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