Rafael Nadal’s painful left foot was numbed by multiple injections to two nerves throughout the French Open, the only way he has found to deal with a chronic condition he acknowledges puts his tennis future in doubt.
At any other tournament, Nadal said, he would not have persisted through what he called such “extreme conditions.”
Ah, but five simple words uttered after he strung together the last 11 games of a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory over an overwhelmed Casper Ruud in Sunday’s intriguing-for-a-handful-of-minutes final at Court Philippe Chatrier explained Nadal’s mindset: “Roland Garros is Roland Garros.”
And so even if Nadal, a French Open champion for the 14th time now at age 36, is in obvious ways different from Nadal, a French Open champion for the first time all the way back in 2005 at age 19, that desire to give his all, no matter what, to “find solutions” — one of his oft-used phrases — remains the same.
WATCH | Nadal dominates Ruud in straight sets to win 14th title at Roland Garros:
He is the oldest champion in the history of a tournament that began in 1925, and his hair is thinning on top. The chartreuse T-shirt he wore Sunday had sleeves, unlike his biceps-baring look of nearly two decades ago. The white capri pants that ran below his knees back in the day were long since traded in for more standard shorts; Sunday’s were turquoise.
Nadal is nothing if not indefatigable, just as he was in consecutive four-hour-plus victories earlier in the tournament — including against Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and No. 1 seed — and again on this afternoon, even while competing on a foot devoid of any feeling.
“When you are playing defensive against Rafa on clay,” said Ruud, a 23-year-old Norwegian who was participating in his first major final, “he will eat you alive.”
Nadal said afterward he will try other methods of helping his foot — including, even, a way “to burn, a little bit, the nerve” — over the next week to see whether that might allow him to enter Wimbledon, where he has won two of his men’s-record 22 Grand Slam titles. Play begins at the All England Club on June 27.
If these new treatments do not work, Nadal said, then he will need to consider having what he termed major surgery — and, eventually, a “decision about what’s the next step in my future.”
“It’s obvious that with the circumstances that I am playing [in],” Nadal said, “I can’t and I don’t want to keep going.”
During the trophy ceremony, Nadal thanked his family and support team, including a doctor who accompanied him to Paris, for helping him, because otherwise he would have needed to “retire much before.”
“I don’t know what can happen in the future,” Nadal told the crowd, “but I’m going to keep fighting to try to keep going.”
He played so crisply and cleanly Sunday, accumulating more than twice as many winners as Ruud, 37 to 16. Nadal also committed fewer unforced errors, making just 16 to Ruud’s 26. After trailing 3-1 in the second set, Nadal would not cede another game.
“After that moment,” Nadal said, “everything went very smooth.”
The view from the other side of the net?
“I’m just another one of the victims,” Ruud said, “that he has destroyed on this court.”
One of the most indelible memories Ruud will take away from this day was hearing the announcer recite the long list of years Nadal had previously won the French Open: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“Never stops, it seems like,” Ruud said. “That takes like half a minute.”
Nadal is 14-0 in finals at Roland Garros, 112-3 overall. When this one ended with a down-the-line backhand from Nadal, he chucked his racket to the red clay he loves so much and covered his face with the taped-up fingers on both of his hands.
No man or woman ever has won the singles trophy at any major event more than his 14 in Paris. And no man has won more Grand Slam titles than Nadal.
He is two ahead of Roger Federer, who hasn’t played in almost a year after a series of knee operations, and Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
For all that he has accomplished already, Nadal now has done something he never managed previously: He is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam thanks to titles at the Australian Open and French Open in the same season.
Ruud considers Nadal his idol. He recalls watching all of Nadal’s past finals in Paris on TV. He has trained at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca.
They have played countless practice sets together there with nothing more at stake than bragging rights. Nadal usually won those, and Ruud joked the other day that’s because he was trying to be a polite guest.
The two had never met in a real match until Sunday, when a championship, money, ranking points, prestige and a piece of history were on the line. And Nadal demonstrated, as he has so often, why he’s known as the King of Clay — and among the game’s greatest ever.
“It’s something that I, for sure, never believed — to be here at 36, being competitive again, playing in the most favorite court of my career, one more time in the final,” Nadal said. “It means a lot to me. Means everything.”
Andreescu's 3-year title drought extended at Wimbledon tune-up in Germany – CBC Sports
Caroline Garcia won her first tour title in three years after coming back from a set and a break down to beat 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday in the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany.
Andreescu was looking for her first title since beating Serena Williams in the 2019 final at Flushing Meadows before injuries forced her to miss the entire 2020 season.
“I’m very happy. It’s been a couple of rough years but, you know, I’m putting in the work and on to the next. I’m excited for Wimbledon,” said Andreescu, who became visibly emotional while thanking her team. “You guys stuck with me through the toughest moments and that’s all anyone could ever ask for.”
She has drawn American qualifier Emina Bektas in the first round of Wimbledon next week. Garcia has Yuriko Miyazaki of Britain for her opener.
WATCH | Andreescu falls to Garcia in Bad Homburg final:
Garcia took a medical timeout for what seemed to be a shoulder problem early in the second set. She then went 4-2 down before winning 10 of the next 14 games to seal the match ahead of the start of Wimbledon on Monday.
“It was a fight [for] every point from the first to the last one,” Garcia said.
Garcia is 8-3 in career finals but her last title was almost exactly three years ago in Nottingham in the build-up to the 2019 Wimbledon tournament.
WATCH | Canadian tennis star Andreescu answers questions from kids:
Kvitova captures Eastbourne title
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova tuned up for the Grand Slam tournament by overpowering Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 to win the Eastbourne title on Saturday in England.
The 14th-seeded Kvitova earned her first grass-court title in four years — and 29th trophy of her singles career overall – after breaking Ostapenko, the defending champion, early in both sets and feasting on the Latvian’s second serve.
Kvitova saved five break points in the fourth game of the second set to stay in control of the match at 3-1.
“Playing on the grass is very special for me every time,” the 32-year-old Czech player said in her on-court interview. “It’s the best preparation for Wimbledon, as well.”
Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, plays Tuesday at the All England Club in a first-round match against Jasmine Paolini of Italy.
She is now 5-1 in grass-court finals in her career. Her most recent title on grass had been Birmingham in 2018.
Injured Keys, Coric out of Wimbledon
Madison Keys, the 2017 U.S. Open runner-up, and Borna Coric withdrew from Wimbledon on Saturday because of injuries.
The tournament begins Monday.
Keys, an American who was seeded 19th at the All England Club, pulled out because of a hurt abdominal muscle.
She was replaced in the field by Coco Vandeweghe, twice a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and twice a semifinalist at other Grand Slam tournaments, who lost in qualifying this week. Vandeweghe’s first-round opponent will be No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina.
“This isn’t what I was hoping to say a few days before @Wimbledon, but unfortunately I have to withdraw due to an abdominal injury,” world number 24 Keys tweeted.
“I’m so disappointed, but my health comes first and my body needs time to get back to 100%. Lots of love London fans. See you next year.”
Former world No. 7 Keys won her first title since 2019 at the Adelaide WTA tournament in January before reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.
She was defeated in the French Open fourth round by Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova.
Coric is a Croatian who got into the field thanks to a protected ranking because he has been injured. He cited a shoulder problem for his withdrawal.
He was drawn to face No. 12 seed Diego Schwartzman and that spot will be filled by an as-yet-unannounced player who lost in qualifying.
Jaeger: Sexually harassed ‘at least 30 times’
Former teenage tennis phenom Andrea Jaeger said she was sexually harassed “at least 30 times” by a female Women’s Tennis Association staff member during the 1980s.
Jaeger, now 57, also told The Independent she also was unknowingly served alcohol when she was 16 by a different staff member, who drove her home and tried to kiss her.
The two-time Grand Slam finalist was on the tour from ages 14 to 19 and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in 1981. Despite her success, she said she made it a habit to avoid WTA officials at tournaments during her five years on tour. Jaeger said much of the harassment occurred in locker rooms.
“I’d change in portable toilets or a bathroom stall because I didn’t want to deal with the comments, the interest or actions of people,” Jaeger said, according to The Independent. “I had at least 30 incidents with one specific non-playing staff member, physical attempts all in the locker room very, very early in my career. That particular non-playing staff employee had a major issue keeping her hands to herself.
“I avoided being in training rooms alone because an approach was made on me there as well.”
Jaeger said she was served multiple alcoholic drinks following the 1982 WTA Championships and began to get fuzzy. An official drove her home.
“When we got to my condo, she walked me to the door and tried something on with me,” Jaeger said. “She was trying to kiss me. I was so sickened that I was crawling up the stairs inside trying not to throw up so my dad wouldn’t see me.”
Jaeger said she complained to WTA officials after the incident and was threatened with reprisals.
She won 10 career titles before retiring at age 19 due to a shoulder injury.
Lightning’s Brayden Point remains out of lineup for Game 6 – Sportsnet.ca
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper is not anticipating any lineup changes Sunday night for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final as forward Brayden Point continues to deal with an undisclosed “severe injury.”
Point sustained a leg injury during Game 7 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He returned for the start of the Stanley Cup Final and recorded one assist in two games before leaving the lineup again.
“It’s tricky too because players are used to playing at, I guess, a certain way or how they feel they can play,” Cooper told reporters. “If they don’t feel confident in playing at the calibre they’re used to, it almost works against them.
“It’s unfortunate because it was a severe injury and at this time of the year, everybody’s trying to get back into the lineup and there are just some things you can’t do. When you can’t do what you’re used to doing, it’s tough on the player.”
The 26-year-old Point, who has 78 points in 76 career postseason games, skated with the Lightning during Sunday morning’s practice, and Cooper did not completely rule him out for a potential Game 7.
“He’s still plugging along here and rehabbing and trying to get better. Who knows? If the series goes one more game, you never know,” Cooper said. “It’s tough on these guys because they’re such competitors.”
The Colorado Avalanche hold a 3-2 series lead looking to secure their first Stanley Cup since 2001 while the double defending champion Lightning are aiming to keep their hopes of a three-peat alive. Watch Game 6 live on Sportsnet or Sportsnet NOW starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
In Gee Chun perseveres, holds off Lexi Thompson to win Women's PGA – Golf Channel
BETHESDA, Md. — In Gee Chun rallied after losing her once-sizeable lead, overcoming a bogey-filled front nine to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on Sunday when Lexi Thompson faltered with the putter.
Chun shot a 3-over 75 for the second consecutive day at Congressional, but that was enough to win her third major title by a stroke over Thompson and Minjee Lee. Chun, after leading by six at the tournament’s midway point, lost a three-shot advantage in the first three holes of the final round. Thompson was two strokes ahead of her after the front nine, but her putting problems were just beginning.
The 27-year-old Floridian botched a par putt from a couple feet on No. 14, but a birdie on 15 restored her lead to two. Then she bogeyed the par-5 16th while Chun made birdie, leaving the two players tied with two holes remaining.
Thompson three-putted for bogey on 17, and after an impressive approach from the rough on 18, her birdie putt wasn’t hit firmly enough.
Chun’s approach on the par-4 18th bounced past the hole and just off the back of the green, but she putted to within 5 feet and sank her par attempt to win the tournament.
Chun, a 27-year-old from South Korea, led by seven strokes after finishing her first round in wet conditions Thursday. The lead was down to five at the end of that day — still equaling the largest 18-hole advantage in the history of women’s majors.
She was six strokes ahead at the halfway point and had a three-stroke advantage coming into Sunday. She finished at 5-under 283.
Chun won her first major at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2015 and added the Evian Championship in France the following year.
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