Sunday, by defeating Novak Djokovic in four sets, Rafael Nadal won his ninth French Open. A record of course, but mostly a lot of memories, emotions, outfits, yellow balls, stringings, bananas, waves, cramps, blisters and pants pullings.
...Only one defeat.
...A few nicknames: El Matador, El Niño, Spain’s raging bull, the King of clay...
...Spain, small nation of European football with an almost empty trophy cabinet, then Spain King of the world football and then one of the best team of all time.
...Justine Hénin-Hardenne, then just Justine Hénin.
…A tremendous list of French minister of Youth and Sports : Jean-François Lamour, Roselyne Bachelot, Bernard Laporte, Rama Yade, Chantal Jouanno, David Douillet, Valérie Fourneyron, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.
...An economic miracle, a financial crisis, a real estate bubble, a FMI’s nightmare and rescue and an economic revival. Rafa, it’s the Spanish miracle.
...Only one girl: Xisca.
…Only one coach: Toni. With only one white cap: Iberostar.
…Only one passion: Real Madrid.
…Only one vice: olives.
...Capri pants and tank tops. When Rafa went back to the classic short-short sleeved shirt, the noughties were finally over.
...Mariano Puerta in final and not yet repeat offender.
...A few rainy days.
...A 4h53 match against Paul-Henri Mathieu in 2006. His longest at Roland.
...Two withdrawals. In 2003 and 2004.
...Two sets to one, to catch up with against John Isner in 2011.
...The expansion of Roland-Garros postponed again and again.
...No other court than the Philippe-Chatrier, the Suzanne-Lenglen and the N°1.
...Early stages of baldness.
... Usain Bolt, already Olympic champion and world record holder of the 100m, giving him the trophy.
... Zinedine Zidane, already World champion but before the most famous head-butt of all time, giving him the trophy.
...The time when six former Roland-Garros winner were on the starting line of the tournament. At the moment, they are only two: "Rafa" et "Rodger".
...Two matches in five sets in a decade.
...Six victories over Novak Djokovic in the Serb’s ten participations to the tournament. Djoko's kryptonite.
...Other favourite scapegoats: Federer (5 victories), Ferrer... and Hewitt (4 each).
...Gaston Gaudio titleholder of Roland-Garros.
...The victory as World number one only twice, but five times as World number 2. Statistic curiosity.
...Gianni Mina, Kevin Kim or Marcos Daniel. « Very dangerous opponent. If I’m not playing my best tennis, I will lose right?»
...7 different champions in the women’s table.
...Björn Borg thanking Robin Söderling for preserving his record of consecutive victories. But no one came to the rescue of the 70s legend this year.
...214 « Vamos » screamed while showing off his biceps, and 1427 pants pullings.
...A final played in two days because of the rain.
...5 different Davis Cup by BNP Paribas’ captains invited in his box: Jordi Arrese, Emilio Sanchez, Albert Costa, Alex Corretja and Carlos Moya.
...163 820 blisters, stains everywhere on his shirt and back pains. The life of a building worker.
...Luis Horna, Dominik Hrbaty, Guillermo Canas and Nicolas Massu. A different tennis.
...The epic match between Tommy Robredo and Marat Safin during Roland Garros 2005.
...Patty Schneider before she went missing. What a player…
...Amelie Mauresmo seeded number 1.
...Guga leaving on a defeat in three sets against PHM. Life’s a bitch.
... A semi-final against Jürgen Melzer...