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Rediff.com  » Sports » Nervous Nadal says tough journey made victory special

Nervous Nadal says tough journey made victory special

Last updated on: June 6, 2011 14:13 IST

'Rafael was nervous'

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Having conquered his anxiety and battled through tough situations, Rafa Nadal won possibly the sweetest of his six French Open titles on Sunday.

If the Spaniard was simply awesome in 2008 when he claimed the French crown without dropping a set, this year he had to survive a few wobbles on the way to his 10th grand slam title.

The 25-year-old Nadal clawed back from the brink in a five-set thriller against American John Isner and recovered from a sticky start to beat old rival Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1 in the final and equal Bjorn Borg's record.

"Rafael was nervous," his uncle and coach Toni Nadal told reporters.


Image: Rafael Nadal
Photographs: Reuters
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'The positive thing is that I was capable of reversing situations'

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Nadal arrived in Paris with two titles on clay, in Barcelona and Monte Carlo, under his belt, but having also lost to Novak Djokovic on the red dirt in the Madrid and Rome finals.

"The real Rafa is both the Rafa who wins and the Rafa who plays well and the Rafa who suffers and doesn't play that well," Rafa Nadal told a news conference.

"You have to face this situation. You also have a Rafa that plays very well and wins. These two Rafas are real Rafas.

"The most positive thing is that I was capable of reversing situations and keeping a good attitude in order to reverse the situation."


Image: Rafael Nadal

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'It's difficult to say I am not satisfied with this one'

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It did not happen without pain and fear.

Nadal went 5-2 down in the opening set on Sunday as he struggled to find his range, but after Federer had a drop shot ruled just wide, the Spaniard hit his stride to win seven games in a row and take charge of the match.

The joy of victory obviously took more time to sink in than three years ago, when he dropped only 41 games throughout the fortnight.

"It's difficult to say I am not satisfied with this one, because to win a tournament like this you have to be playing really well," said Nadal.


Image: Rafael Nadal

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'When you come back after a tough situation wins become special'

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"But sometimes when you fight a lot to win, when you try your best in every moment to change the situation, it makes the title more special.

"For example, in 2008 I think I played better than ever, but I finished the tournament and I didn't feel that I won Roland Garros because I won in three sets.

"When you come back after a tough situation, it makes the tournaments and the victories more special for sure."


Image: Rafael Nadal rests with his French Open trophy in the players dressing room

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