Few things have remained a constant in the sports world over the last decade, but Rafael Nadal winning French Opens is one of them.
The Spaniard won the 2014 French Open final on Sunday over Novak Djokovic in four sets, marking the ninth time in the last 10 years that he's claimed the title at Roland Garros.
Here's the final score:
|No. 1 Rafael Nadal def. No. 2 Novak Djokovic||3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4|
Already assumed by most as the greatest clay-court player in the sport's history, Nadal overcame one of the toughest tests he's faced at the French Open. But just like he did in eight of the previous nine years, he finished with his teeth gripping the trophy.
Oh, and no big deal, but Sunday made his reign at the French Open the most dominant one at any Grand Slam event in the sport's history, per ESPN SportsCenter:
Rafa Nadal is 1st man to win 9 titles at the same Grand Slam event.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 8, 2014
For much of Sunday's men's singles final on the Court Philippe Chatrier, the king of clay looked to have the upper hand. But that wasn't the case from the get-go.
Instead, Djokovic was the one starting strong. The Serbian won the opening set 6-3, and in the blink of an eye, he was battling in the second set for the chance to potentially take a commanding two-sets-to-none lead over the now nine-time champ.
Once he got his bearings, though, Nadal found his form and regained the dominance that he's shown throughout this year's tournament and on through most of the last decade at Roland Garros.
He squeaked out a 7-5 second set, then bulldozed his way through the third set with a captivating 6-2 victory.
Will Djokovic ever win a French Open?
Djokovic was in one of the most against-the-odds positions in all of sports—needing two straight sets against Nadal, on clay, in the French Open final. And on top of that, Djokovic was being shown getting sick and obviously feeling under the weather heading into that set.
He battled and battled, but after having his set broken by Nadal to go down 4-2, the Spaniard was putting his finishing touches on Djokovic en route to his ninth French Open.
Roland Garros captured a video of Nadal speaking to the crowd after the match:
The win was just another massive payday for Nadal. ESPN's Darren Rovell captured just how lucrative Nadal's career has been moments after Sunday's result:
Thru today, Rafael Nadal has made $70.5 million in on-court earnings in his career, 2nd to only Roger Federer.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) June 8, 2014
The moment was nonetheless sweet for Nadal, as he further proved that he's the king of clay and the most dominant player that Roland Garros has ever seen.
But it was all the more crushing for Djokovic, who came up just short—again—of completing his career Grand Slam.
That was evident in Djokovic's emotions after the match, as he received a wholehearted standing ovation from the crowd, per L'Equipe's Carole Bouchard:
Long Standing ovation for Djokovic who is on verge of crying. Unbelievable.— Carole Bouchard (@carole_bouchard) June 8, 2014
In the end, Djokovic will have to wait to complete the quartet and earn his place on the short list of those who have achieved that feat. It won't be much easier in the future, as the 27-year-old Serbian will likely have to get past the 28-year-old Nadal on clay at Roland Garros to do so.
The Spaniard entered Roland Garros in a way in which he hasn't in nearly a decade—coming off three losses on clay. But once again, he proved that the French Open is still his event.