Rafael Nadal secured his 13th French Open title Sunday, beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
Nadal, who has battled injuries, thanked his family and his support team after his win, the 20th Grand Slam title of his career. He beat Djokovic in a tense match, winning 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
Nadal topped Djokovic with an ace and dropped to his knees on the famed red clay court, pumping his arms in victory. They shared a brief, sportsmanlike hug over the net after the final set.
“I want to send a message to everyone around the world now,” Nadal said. “We are facing one of the worst moments that I think we remember in this world, facing and fighting against this virus. Just keep going. Stay positive.”
Djokovic congratulated Nadal, saying he was overpowered by a better player.
“What you’re doing on this court is unbelievable,” Djokovic said. “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.”
Nadal was the No. 2-ranked player in the world going into the final, behind Djokovic, but he has now secured the sport’s top spot. Sunday’s victory ties him with longtime rival Roger Federer in Grand Slam titles, and he remains the record holder for most French Open tournament wins.
Some have questioned whether chronic injuries have held back Nadal, who is 34, but his victory Sunday will likely silence many critics.
Nadal won his first French Open in 2005 and went on to earn four consecutive titles, dominating the court through 2008. Federer took the 2009 title, but Nadal came back to win the French Open from 2010 to 2014. Sunday’s win continues a third French Open winning streak for Nadal, who has again been dominating the tournament since 2017.