Rafael Nadal reacts after thrashing Djokovic to equal Federer's Slam record

Rafael Nadal played down the significance of equalling Roger Federer’s Grand Slam record as he basked in the glory of thrashing Novak Djokovic to win the French Open.

Nadal, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros, was at his unplayable best as he swept world No. 1 Djokovic aside 6-0 6-2 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes.

Djokovic had only lost one match in 2020 and that came in the form of a default against Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round of the US Open, but he was hammered by top seed Nadal in Sunday’s final.

And Nadal, who equalled Federer’s 20-strong Grand Slam haul, was delighted to win a 13th title in Paris.

‘First of all, congrats to Novak for another great tournament,’ said Nadal.

‘Sorry for today. In Australia [2019] he killed me. For me that’s part of the game. One day, wins once, another day wins the other.’

‘Of course, after all the things I’ve went through during my career in terms of injury, without a great team and family around me, everything would be impossible.

‘A very tough year but winning here means everything to me. It’s not the moment for me I don’t think about equalling Roger or this great number. For me is just a Roland Garros victory. Roland Garros means everything to me.’

‘I spent most of the important moments of my tennis career here. Just to play here is a true inspiration. The love story I have with this city is unbelievable and unforgettable.’

Djokovic was in awe of Nadal’s level, adding: ‘What you are doing on this court is unbelievable. Today you showed why you are king of the clay.

‘I’m not so pleased with how I played but I was definitely overplayed by a better player.’

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander told Eurosport after the match: ‘Of course we were hoping for a great final and this is not going to go down as a great final.

‘I am more surprised, I didn’t think Rafa was going to play this well. I thought Novak was hitting the ball better than he showed today. Who knows what played a part in it? Maybe it was because Novak spent a couple of extra hours in the semi’s. This is a bit of a surprise to me.

‘In the end, it comes down to Rafa Nadal – it is just so difficult to win points against him on this slower clay court. The debate it – is he better on the faster, higher bouncing court or the heavy clay courts?’

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