Rafael Nadal says he will “fight to keep up” after defeating Caspar Rudd in the final of his 14th French Open title on Sunday, despite a hamstring injury.
The record 22-time Grand Slam champion suffered a chronic left foot problem and said earlier this week that he was not sure how long he could continue and that every Roland Garros match could be his last.
On the eve of the final, he even said that he would lose on Sunday in exchange for a new leg.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I will continue to fight to keep trying,” Nadal said after beating Rudd 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.
“For me, the game here is incredible. It’s an incredible feeling. “
Nadal’s 112th victory at the Clay-Court Major was the third of three defeats.
His participation in the tournament was in doubt even before the season after another absence due to a rib stress fracture.
Sunday’s victory comes 17 years after Nadal won his 2005 Roland Garros debut.
The 36-year-old, the oldest person to win a French Open, paid tribute to his team for helping him continue at the top of the game.
“I don’t know what I would have done with the injury if it hadn’t been for the team, my family and everyone around me,” Nadal said.
“I would have retired long ago if it hadn’t been for you …
“I never believed that I would come here at the age of 36, to be competitive again, to play in the final once again on the most important court of my career.
“It means everything to me. It means a lot of energy to keep trying.”
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