Sport

Brilliant Djokovic ends Nadal's historic French Open reign

SportBy Kevin Palmer
Djokovic far too good for Nadal at the French Open
Djokovic far too good for Nadal at the French Open

Rafael Nadal has been virtually unbeatable on the red clay of Roland Garros for the last decade, yet this was the day when his reign as French Open champion was to end at the hands of Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic's 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 win was as comprehensive as the scoreline suggested, with Nadal having no answer to a maestro who was simply too good for him on the court he has owned for so long. This felt like the end of an era in tennis and it most probably was.

It has felt as if the tennis world had been working its way towards this match throughout 2015, with world No.1 Djokovoic establishing himself as the best player in the world and sweeping aside all before him to this point.

Meanwhile, Nadal's slide from the top of the tennis rankings suggested the Spaniard's tenure as one of the game's true greats was edging towards an end, but the red clay at Roland Garros has always tended to bring out the best in him.

Only Robin Soderling had beaten Nadal at the French Open (2009) over the course of the last decade, with his truly incredible 66 wins to go alongside that solitary defeat confirming his legend as the King of Clay.

That before June 3rd 2015, when his nemesis Djokovic blew him away under the blue skies of the French capital.

It was not just the fact that Nadal lost his French Open crown against the one player who seems to be too strong for everyone in the game right now, with the way Djokovic pulled his great rival around the court almost embarrassing at times and there were no excuses from Nadal afterwards.

"He was better than me. That's it. It's very simple," said Nadal. "When one opponent is playing better than you and is in better shape than you, that can happen."

Nadal will need to go away and lick his wounds after this hammering, while Djokovic can continue to dream that he will complete a Grand Slam triumph this season by adding the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open to his collection this season.

Unbeatable champions tend to be dethroned when you least expect them, but as one great took his leave in Paris on this monumental quarter-final day, Djokovic's legend was further enhance.

The king of clay is dead, long live the new king. Djokovic reigns supreme.