Rafael Nadal has reiterated that he would “fight to keep going” after beating Casper Ruud in the final to win his 14th French Open title on Sunday, despite being hampered by injury.
The record 22-time Grand Slam champion has been suffering from a chronic left foot problem and said earlier this week he was not sure how long he could continue and that every match at Roland Garros could be his last.
On the eve of the final, he even said he’d rather lose Sunday in exchange for a new foot.
“I don’t know what can happen in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting to try to keep going,” Nadal said after thrashing Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.
“For me, it’s incredible to play here. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Nadal’s victory was his 112th in the clay-court major, against only three defeats.
Read Also: Nadal Clinches 14th French Open Title, Beats Ruud In Three Straight Sets
His participation at the tournament had been in doubt even earlier in the season after another absence due to a rib stress fracture.
Sunday’s victory came 17 years to the day since Nadal won on his Roland Garros debut in 2005.
The 36-year-old, the oldest man to win the French Open, paid tribute to his team for helping him continue at the top of the sport.
“I don’t know what I would do in terms of injuries if it wasn’t for the team, my family and everyone around me,” said Nadal.
“I would’ve already retired much before if it wasn’t for you…
“I never believed I would be here at 36, being competitive again, playing in the most important court of my career one more time in a final.
“It means everything to me. It means a lot of energy to try to keep going.”
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The Spaniard has done it again.
22 grand slams.
The undisputed king of clay. And it seems the argument of greatest player ever has finally been put to rest. Unless Federer and Djokovic can match Nadal’s feat. They both have 20 grand slams each, compared to the Spaniard’s 22.
Humble of the courts, a tenacious gladiator on it. Congrats, Spaniard. Wimbledon next.
Top marks Pompei. The argument has been settled