Nadal wins 14th French Open for record-extending 22nd G’Slam

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on June 5, 2022 shows Spain’s Rafael Nadal posing with the trophies of his 22 Grand Slam victories (from top L to bottom R) on June 5, 2005 during Roland Garros; on June 11, 2006 during Roland Garros; on June 10, 2007 during Roland Garros; on June 8, 2008 during Roland Garros; on July 6, 2008 during Wimbledon; on February 2, 2009 during the Australian Open; on June 6, 2010 during Roland Garros; on July 4, 2010 during Wimbledon; on September 13, 2010 during the US Open; on June 5, 2011 during Roland Garros; on June 11, 2012 during Roland Garros; on June 9, 2013 during Roland Garros; on September 9, 2013 during the US Open; on June 8, 2014 during Roland Garros; on June 11, 2017 during Roland Garros; on September 10, 2017 during the US Open; on June 10, 2018 during Roland Garros; on June 9, 2019 during Roland Garros; on September 8, 2019 during the US Open; on October 11, 2020 wearing a facemask during Roland Garros; on January 31, 2022 at the Australian Open in Melbourne and on June 5, 2022 after winning the Roland Garros in Paris. (AFP)

PARIS (AFP) – Rafael Nadal won a 14th French Open and record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title on Sunday to become the oldest male champion at Roland Garros and then revealed he will undergo more treatment to cure a potentially career-ending foot injury.

In a disappointing final, 36-year-old Nadal routed Casper Ruud, 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, with victory coming 17 years to the day since he claimed his first French Open as a 19-year-old in 2005.

Nadal won the last 11 games of the final and is now two Slams ahead of old rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer with Sunday’s victory coming against all the odds.

Nadal, the oldest winner in Paris since a 34-year-old Andre Gimeno in 1972, had not been certain of taking part after a chronic left foot injury, which has plagued him throughout his career, flared up again.

He also needed the best part of a gruelling 12 hours to see off Felix Auger-Aliassime, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in the previous three rounds.

“It’s obvious that with the circumstances that I am playing, I can’t and I don’t want to keep going. I’m going to keep working to try to find a solution and an improvement for what’s happening in the foot,” said Nadal.

He revealed he needed pain-killing injections in his left foot before every match in Paris and will undergo treatment again this week back in Spain.

“If it works, I keep going. If not, it will be another story and I will ask myself if I am ready to do a major surgery which may not guarantee I will be competitive and may take a long time to be back.”

Nadal said that taking anaesthetic injections in the nerves in his foot was the only way he could have got through the tournament.

Now he and his medical team will employ a technique which will burn the nerve using what he described as “radio frequency injections” to “sleep the two nerves”.

If it works, he said he intends to play Wimbledon where he is a two-time champion and which gets underway in three weeks’ time.

Nadal’s two-hour 18-minute romp on Sunday took his record at the tournament to 112 wins against just three losses and also put him halfway to a calendar men’s Grand Slam last achieved by Rod Laver in 1969.

“The most important thing is to congratulate Rafa,” said Ruud.

– ‘True champion’ –

“You are a true champion. This is the first time I have faced you so now I know what it’s like to be the victim! There will be many others. “You have taken me into your academy with open arms and you are a true inspiration to me. We all hope you continue for some more time.”

Nadal, unbeaten in 13 previous finals in Paris and playing in his 30th Grand Slam decider, got off to a flying start against Ruud, the first Norwegian man to feature in a championship match at the majors.