Rafael Nadal has secured his 13th French Open title Sunday in a win against Novak Djokovic.
The injury-riddled tennis player thanked his family and support system in a speech following his win, which also marks 20 Grand Slam wins for Nadal. He secured the title against Djokovic in a tense match, winning 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
The Spaniard topped Djokovic with an ace and dropped to his knees on the famed red-clay court, pumping his arms in victory. The two men shared a brief, sportsman-like hug over the net after the final set.
“I want to send a message to everyone around the world now,” Nadal said in the speech. “We are facing one of the worst moments that I think we remember in this world, facing and fighting against this virus. Just keep going, stay positive.”
Djokovic offered his congratulations to Nadal at the end of the tournament, noting that he was overpowered by a better player.
“What you’re doing on this court is unbelievable,” Djokovic said. “Not just on this court, throughout your entire career you’ve been a great champion and today you showed why you’re King of the Clay. I’ve experienced it on my own skin.”
Nadal was ranked the No. 2 men’s tennis player in the world going into the final, just behind Djokovic, but has now secured the sport’s top spot. Sunday’s victory ties him with rival Roger Federer in Grand Slam titles and he remains the record holder for most French Open tournament wins.
Some have questioned whether Nadal’s chronic injuries over his career have held him back, but the 34-year-old athlete’s victory Sunday will likely silence many of those criticisms.
The Spanish-born player won his first French Open in 2005 and went on to earn four-consecutive titles, dominating the court through 2008. Federer took the 2009 title but Nadal came back and won the French Open from 2010-2014. Sunday’s win continues a third French Open winning streak for Nadal, who has again dominated the tournament since 2017.