The 2016 version of Novak Djokovic, who was utterly dominant on his way to a first French Open title has vanished without a trace and was perhaps the only man who has ever truly got to grips with Nadal on the surface.
"It's really incredible. To win La Decima is very, very special", Nadal said courtside. "Just for me it's the most important event in my career without a doubt". "I am very happy for everything", Nadal added. But not only here: since the beginning of the year, you can see he's playing more aggressively, staying closer to the line.
Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka deliberately breaks his racket in the men's final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Sunday, June 11, 2017.
But he has responded this year by making the final of the Australian Open and dominating the clay court season, losing just one match to Dominic Thiem in Rome while sweeping to titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.
"I am not the right one to say, but to play 10 finals here is something hard".
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"He's playing the best he's ever played", the third-seeded Wawrinka told a news conference after watching Nadal collect the trophy "He's the best ever on clay; it's always a tough challenge". But the 2015 champion could not convert it and it proved to be the only break point he earned all afternoon.
"The feeling that I have here is impossible to describe, impossible to compare to other places", Nadal said on court after the victory, brushing away tears.
Wimbledon will be the first time in years that Federer and Nadal go in as the heavy favourites.
The fourth-seeded Spaniard continued his clay-court prowess, easily winning 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 on Court Philippe-Chatrier in two hours, five minutes for his 15th Grand Slam title overall.
The third set proved to be too easy for Nadal and it looked like Wawrinka had given up.
The 31-year-old has been on top of his game over the past fortnight, going the whole tournament without dropping a single set.
"If you're not completely free. you don't want him to take the lead and play even more freely", said Wawrinka, who became US Open champion past year.