For the first time ever Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal picked up two grand slam titles each, and the thrilling Australian Open final between the two evergreen legends was a reminder of why the match-up is viewed by most observers as the greatest rivalry in tennis, and possibly even in all of sport.
That doesn't necessarily mean Nadal is fixated on catching his rival. "When someone wins 11 times here, for me it's unbelievable", he told reporters.
He added that it's not an "obsession".
They did just that, becoming the first pair of ATP and WTA No 1s to both win the title at Roland Garros since Jim Courier and Monica Seles in 1992.
While we have an edge here, I appreciate that backing a heavy odds-on shot isn't most people's cup of tea, so the game handicap should be a viable proposition. I have passion for what I am doing.
"I can't be thinking about the next win, that'd drive me insane".
"It's my way of thinking, my way to play this sport and I think it helped me to get the experience from all the tournaments to see that I'm able to win the mandatory tournaments and for sure if I'm able to beat these players, who are the same in the Grand Slams, I will one day win a Grand Slam". "You can't live with that feeling, no?" Thiem was hammering every ball that he could, and Nadal was responding with his classic clay court defense.
"Earlier in the tournament during (Robin) Haase against (David) Goffin they said "no you're not allowed any treatment, you have got to get on and play with it". Nadal -5.5 games is available on the Exchange at [1.68] and given the fact that Nadal has tended to dominate Thiem on non-quick clay, this should be a very likely outcome if Nadal wins the final.
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Federer, of course, sat out the French Open to rest and prepare for the grass-court season. However, his recent record at the All England Club has been dispiriting.
The No. 7-seeded Thiem was trying to become only the second player from Austria to earn a Grand Slam title; Thomas Muster won the 1995 French Open.
It was a first Grand Slam final for Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian. But she insists she always kept the belief. "No words can express what we feel about Rafa's game and what he has done for the game of tennis on a worldwide basis". But he remains philosophical about the rest of his career which has so far yielded 17 majors, 79 titles in total as well as more than $100 million in prize money.
A clay court specialist who had made the semi-finals at Paris over the last two years, and the final this time around; someone who had beaten Nadal on clay three times in the past, though never in a five-setter.
Rafael Nadal has taken the first set of his French Open final against Dominic Thiem. The question is when each will be ready for the next step.
Nadal is now coached by former French Open champion Carlos Moya. "I feel emotional, I feel exhausted, I feel like I don't have energy anymore, but it's a good exhausted".
The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Spaniard to hold onto the No. 1 ranking.
He now has 86 match wins on Paris' famous crushed red brick against just two defeats in 13 years.