Christophe Ena/Associated Press
Rafael Nadal has had too many great moments at the French Open to count. This one may have been his best.
Nadal destroyed Novak Djokovic in a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 romp in Sunday’s French Open final, taking home his record 13th championship at Roland Garros and tying Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam championships in tennis history.
“What you’re doing on this court is unbelievable,” Djokovic said to Nadal on the court after the match. “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.”
The Spaniard will take home a $1.9 million purse for his victory, with Djokovic bringing in $941,296. Darren Rovell of The Action Network had updated career earnings for Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.
While most favored Nadal in the hyped head-to-head, no one expected the straight evisceration that played out. Nadal knocked Djokovic out of sync from the opening game, with the Serb losing 6-0 in a Grand Slam final for the first time in his career.
The momentum never even came close to shifting in Djokovic’s favor. He broke Nadal just once in five opportunities while giving up seven breaks on 18 chances of his own.
It was a quintessentially dominant performance from Nadal, making the world’s top-ranked player look like no tougher test than a first-round opponent.
Djokovic entered the final putting together one of the more impressive runs of tennis in recent history. He entered with a 37-1 overall record for the season, with that one loss coming via default at the U.S. Open when he struck a line judge with a ball.
This was as flummoxed as we’ve ever seen Djokovic on a Grand Slam stage. His serve looked out of sorts, and Nadal took advantage of a bevy of Djokovic unforced errors.
The 34-year-old Nadal has won an astounding five more French Opens than anyone else in history and more than double anyone in the Open Era.
There may be no better person at the history of any sport than Nadal on clay.