Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal: The five ages of tennis's greatest rivalry

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"What you did and what you are doing is the most outstanding thing that any athlete can achieve in sport".

Nadal will look to capture his 18th Grand Slam title next month at Wimbledon. Court claimed the last of her 11 at the Australian Open in 1973.

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

"I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more, but being honest, it's something that is not in my mind".

Victory on Sunday meant that Nadal became just the fourth man of the modern era to win three or more Grand Slam titles after turning 30, joining Federer, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall. "It's fun to see how they match up and how they keep pushing each other".

It rarely is for Nadal at a place he has lorded over the way no other man ever has at any Grand Slam tournament.

On Sunday, Nadal will go up against Austria's Dominic Thiem, the eighth-ranked player in the world and someone who has defeated Nadal before.

It was a tall ask for Thiem to take the battle the full distance as Nadal had never been beaten in a major final with a two-set advantage.

But Nadal himself wasn't too bothered. "You can't live with that feeling, no?" You have to do your way. Because if you are looking next to you, you can be frustrated thinking that people have more things than you in general terms.

"I told him he needed to hit the ball very high and try to come inside the court".

Nadal stepped into the professional world of tennis at the age of 15. Amazing! One of the best sportsman of all times. Off the court, Nadal never lacks in humility. It turned out to be for a cramp in a left finger that left him temporarily unable to serve with much pace.

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.

Shortly, he'd be holding the silver trophy, the one he knows so well, and crying.

When the trainer visited Nadal in his quarterfinal for a similar issue, Nadal said it was simply to prevent sweat from traveling to his hand.

Thiem was considered the stiffest test for Nadal at the French Open and understandably so.

But that's the best-of-three sets and in different, faster conditions.

"Rafa, I just want to say "well done", he said at the post-match presentation. In the other semi-final, Marco Cecchinato's odd run in the last two weeks was ended by Dominic Thiem, also in straight sets, although the first two sets were somewhat closer than anything Del Potro could muster.

Spain's Rafael Nadal was down a set and a break against the Argentinian Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals. A spate of poor play quickly saw him lose the first three games of the set.

The Spaniard officially withdrew before the start of his third-round match in 2016.

Nadal sits barely ahead of No 2 Roger Federer on Monday (Tuesday NZ Time), with a 100-point lead of 8770 to 8670. Overall the tally was a mere 58%. The French Open statisticians are nicer than they should be, as all but one of Thiem's 19 errors in that stretch were unforced (officially, 12 were unforced and seven were forced).

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