Lesser known facts about Rafael Nadal -- the 2018 French Open champion

Beads of sweat run from Spain's Rafael Nadal's face as he prepares to serve against Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadi

Change is coming in the men's game: Alexander Zverev is 21 and ranked No. 3 after winning the Masters 1000 title in Madrid and pushing Nadal hard in the Italian Open final. Their head-to-head tally stands at 23-15 in Nadal's favour.

In 2007, he became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win a hat-trick of Roland Garros titles.

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals. "But in the end, it was not too hard".

Sunday's final will be Nadal's 24th Grand Slam final, putting him second all time.

Nadal clinched an 11th French Open with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory against Dominic Thiem on Sunday to take his majors total to 17.

If Thiem is, as he is widely regarded, the second best clay-court player in the world, then he probably has a few more of these pummellings to look forward to at least until Nadal, 32, finally calls it a day.

Siniakova was the doubles runner-up at last year's U.S. Open with a different partner. However, here past year in the semi-finals, Nadal destroyed Thiem, losing just seven games in a rout, but it is worth mentioning that Thiem triumphed in their last meeting in Madrid last month, in the quarter-finals.

"I kind of expected Rafa to win the French Open, that's not taking anything away from him but he was again that good on clay leading into the French Open that I thought he was going to win", he told a news conference.

But those are not quite the same as the French Open, where Nadal is 86-2 for his career. Rain meant that the final was completed today which was tough on Djokovic who was a break up in the fourth set when the match was halted for the night. That was part of a five-game run that sent Nadal on his way. He took the biggest of big cuts on groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome - not of any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday

A wild, misguided forehand sealed his fate, one of 18 unforced errors to Nadal's 12 in the set.

Rafael Nadal briefly interrupted the French Open final against Dominic Thiem in the third set with an apparent problem with his left wrist. A volley into the net.

Why? Nadal was 95-0 when capturing the opener on clay in the best of five format.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots. Of those 20, the Spaniard only won one by hitting a victor.

Nadal faced only three break points in the two hour, 42-minute affair. I couldn't move the finger.

"He's very aggressive, with big shots", Nadal said in halting French before switching to English. Holding the trophy during the awards ceremony, he wept. "Bravo. To me it's been still great two weeks". For all the hand-wringing in years past over what would happen to US women's tennis after the Williams sisters, they seem to be in pretty good shape.

The crowd responded at the mention of 2005, initially offering polite applause. The crescendo rose to a full-throated roar for 2017.

589 tournaments won, when tennis was still a sport for amateurs. "But here we are".

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