In a sports activities 12 months wildly disrupted by the pandemic, an upended Grand Slam season concluded on Sunday with some of the predictable sights in tennis, if not all of sports activities: Rafael Nadal successful the boys’s singles last of the French Open.
Never thoughts that the event completed in October as an alternative of June. Or that it started weeks after the United States Open, which is meant to be the ultimate Slam, and that it ended because the N.B.A. was taking part in its 2019-20 championship collection in the identical month it was supposed to start the 2020-21 season.
Few issues are as dependable, even metronomic, as Nadal’s sovereignty on the red-clay courts of Roland Garros, the tennis advanced on the perimeter of Paris’s Bois de Bologne. He defeated Novak Djokovic, 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, to win his 13th French Open championship, increasing his report complete within the occasion and equaling Roger Federer’s report of 20 Grand Slam males’s singles titles.
The day earlier than, the ladies’s singles title was received by an unseeded 19-year-old, Iga Swiatek, who turned the primary Grand Slam singles champion from Poland.
Nadal, 34, who has by no means misplaced a French Open last, now has a 100-2 total report within the event since making his smash-hit debut as a 19-year-old in clam-diggers and a sleeveless shirt in 2005. His 13 titles are 5 greater than every other male singles participant has claimed in a selected Grand Slam.
Long earlier than Sunday’s victory, although, Nadal had already captured the spirit of this often-gloomy version of the French Open.
Much of the time, the climate was chilly and grey, the grounds ghostly quiet. The gamers had been all caught in a lodge meant to cocoon them from the virus, and a few doubted whether or not it was worthwhile.
“I’m going to be honest here,” Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, the 35th-ranked girl on the planet, stated within the event’s early days. “I was like, ‘Why are we playing?’”
And then a voice — the voice of this event — rang out on Philippe Chatrier Court.
“The feeling is more sad than usual,” Nadal stated throughout an interview after his first-round victory. “Maybe that’s what it needs to feel like. It needs to be sad. Many people in the world are suffering.”
His phrases resonated with Jabeur. “If he’s a champion and he doesn’t complain,” she stated, “I mean, who I am to complain about it right now?”